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As Congress moves forward with immigration reform, we take a look at how this issue connects to culture, business and families in the Northwest.Our region is home to a unique blend of immigrants who work in all parts of our economy — from high-tech to agriculture. This population already has a deeply-rooted history here. And its ranks are expanding rapidly.Proposals for comprehensive immigration reform address border security, employment verification, guest-worker programs and pathway to citizenship for an estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the US.

Rep. Derek Kilmer on the Democrats' bill to stop family separations

Rep. Derek Kilmer
United States Congress
Rep. Derek Kilmer

Bill Radke talks to Congressman Derek Kilmer about the bills up for vote in the House this week, and the new bill introduced by Democrats to address the problem of separating migrant children from their families at the border. We also talk with Domenico Montanaro, NPR lead political editor, about the likelihood that any of these bills pass.

Rep. Kilmer called the family separations, "just plain wrong." He added, "I'm focused on first stopping that from happening in the short term and then there are absolutely opportunities to fix our immigration system over the long term."

The Democrats' Keep Families Together Act would end family separations and help parents find their children. Kilmer also supports more comprehensive immigration legislation called the U.S.A. Act, a bipartisan bill that would provide a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients.

Kilmer said he would be "quite surprised" if either of the two House Republican bills addressing the family separations get much Democratic support, he said, "in part because just from a process standpoint ... there was no engagement across the aisle."

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