Poverty and Public Health
Tue January 29, 2013
3rd District Congressman Ben Lujan on Immigration Reform, Guns
Congressman Ben R. Lujan is spending some time in his district that includes the northern and eastern parts of the state. Tuesday he'll address state legislators. he also dropped by the studio to talk with our statehouse reporter Deborah Martinez. Here's part one of that interview.
Senate Democrats and Republicans have tentatively agreed to an immigration law overhaul that sets a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States, boosting hopes of Hispanics who have seen little progress in more than five years. A bipartisan House group is also working on a proposal.
Congressman Lujan says he stands behind President Barack Obama's plan for immigration reform that he'll unveil in Nevada this week, affecting the country's 11-million people living in the US illegally.
"I supported a few provisions in 2009 and in the House of Representatives we were able to pass the Dream Act. Sadly that died in the US Senate. That would've offered protections to students that are going to colleges and universities and graduating or those that are serving in the Armed Services as well. That's an important element of a comprehensive immigration reform package - something that I'm sure we'll be hearing from President Barack Obama when he visits Nevada. So I'm hopeful that again, that we're seeing movement in the Senate; we'll hear from the President soon and I'm sure that the House, you'll see the legislation that we hope to see come out of our chamber as well to get to the President, and hopefully this is done, um, before the end of summer."
And on the issue of gun violence, Congressman Lujan says in light of recent horrific events involving high-capacity weapons, he has changed his previous stance against any regulation.
"Early on, you know, I had supported, saying, 'Well a magazine size - people can have as many rounds as they need - what's the concern?' That's something that I've changed my position on. I'm not there any longer and I really believe that we need to have some reforms along those lines, and I really appreciate the legislators, even here in New Mexico, that are moving forward some of these suggestions that they have.
In part two of this conversation with Congressman Lujan: sequestration, and the Violence Against Women Act.