Politics & Government

Before meeting with constituents, Barr voices opinion on immigration

U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington
U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington

FRANKFORT — U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington, called the efforts of a bipartisan group of U.S. senators to bring about immigration reform "a sign of progress on a broken system."

"They are in the ballpark, I would say that," Barr told reporters Tuesday before holding a public meeting with constituents at Farmers Bank.

The bipartisan group is "making progress, combining strengthening border security and rejecting amnesty but providing some way to apply tough love to undocumented immigrants to find some way to make sure they come out of the shadows," Barr said.

The congressman, who was sworn into office earlier this month to represent Central Kentucky's 6th Congressional District, said any reforms should make sure undocumented immigrants pay any fines they have incurred, pay any back taxes, learn English and U.S. civics and obtain proper papers.

A group of influential Senate Democrats and Republicans proposed on Monday a framework to overhaul the nation's immigration system. President Barack Obama laid out his own immigration plan Tuesday.

The plans are similar, but the senators' plan toughens border security before allowing illegal immigrants to take steps to gain citizenship.