House Dems hope to win over Kline, Paulsen to immigration bill

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House Democrats on Capitol Hill think two Minnesota Congressmen are among the Republicans who might be convinced to break party ranks by supporting a bill changing immigration policy.

The Star Tribune reports the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee lists John Kline and Erik Paulsen among 23 Republicans who could be convinced by their constituents to back an immigration bill similar to one the Senate passed last week.

Spokesmen for Kline and Paulsen did not immediately respond to the Star Tribune.

Republican leaders say the House will not pass any bill that provides a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally. The Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill that includes that provision as well as billions of dollars in new spending on border security. But the Associated Press reports House Republicans want to address immigration policy with several stand-alone bills rather than a comprehensive package.

Meanwhile, Sen. Al Franken was in St. Paul Monday singing the praises of the bill the Senate passed, particularly when it comes to the labor available to businesses. The Pioneer Press reports the executive director of the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota estimates 85,000 people in the state would stand to benefit from the 13-year path to citizenship laid out in the bill.

Franken says it would bolster the employment pools available to the agriculture, high-tech, and medical industries.

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