Comprehensive immigration reform is going nowhere on Capitol Hill, but Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said Friday he is "not backing down an inch" in his push to overhaul the nation's immigration laws.
"I'm a Republican and I'm happy to help lead the charge to say, 'Let's embrace immigration,'" Snyder, who is visiting Washington for a National Governor's Association meeting, said in an interview Friday morning with The Washington Post's Dan Balz, Karen Tumulty and Philip Rucker.
Snyder, who is running for reelection this year in a state President Obama won twice, described himself as "probably among the most pro-immigration governors in the country." Snyder noted that he announced in his "State of the State" address this year he was creating by executive order a state Office for New Americans, which he said would be a "clearinghouse to embrace immigrants."
Snyder also said he has asked the Obama administration to administer a program he believes could help revitalize Detroit by providing 50,000 visas to highly-skilled immigrant workers who are willing to live and work in Detroit for a five-year period.
Snyder has long argued that increasing legal immigration can help spur economic growth in distressed industrial cities like Detroit.
Asked whether he believes federal immigration reform should include a pathway to citizenship, Snyder did not answer definitively, saying only that "I think we need to get that resolved." But, he said, the citizenship issue should not stop policy makers from enacting what he called "obvious" reforms, such as the Detroit visa program.
“I may not have an answer to every question on immigration," Snyder said, "but why don’t we start by taking the dumb off the table?”