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Raul Labrador has own immigration plan, walks away from House Gang of Eight talks

A May Day protester at a Los Angeles immigration rally wears a
A May Day protester at a Los Angeles immigration rally wears a "Path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrations" t-shirt, May 1, 2013.
Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

The U.S. Senate continues to slap down border enforcement amendments to the immigration bill. On Wednesday, lawmakers voted to table an amendment from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) that would have required a Congressional vote on border security before legal status could be granted to undocumented immigrants.

Over on the House side, a bipartisan group of negotiators continue to work on their own version of a comprehensive bill. Even a breakaway member who recently walked out on those negotiations is planning his own legislation.

Congressman Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) was a member of the House Gang of Eight hashing out an immigration bill. Labrador prefers the term "Group of Eight" saying his mother told him "not to join gangs."

Labrador was born in Puerto Rico, but settled in his wife's home state of Idaho. He dropped out of the official House immigration effort, saying he's writing his own bills to complement various enforcement measures being pushed through the House Judiciary Committee.

Labrador was short on details, but says he'll include a guest worker program and status for the so-called Dreamers – undocumented immigrants brought here as children. The other 11 million undocumented, he says, should be legalized, but not necessarily be given a path to citizenship.

"As long as we deal with all the other problems," he says, "they should be here legally and we can determine later what that means."

Labrador wouldn't say when his immigration bills would be unveiled. Neither will the rest of the now House Gang of Seven. 

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) met Tuesday with members of the all-Democratic Congressional Hispanic Caucus to talk about immigration. Boehner repeated his promise not to bring a bill to the floor unless it has support from a majority of Republicans.

Congressman Xavier Becerra (D-California), chairman of the House Democratic caucus and a "Gang of Eight" member, says Boehner told lawmakers it "would not be easy, and we know it won't be easy."