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US immigration system works completely backwards: Bobby Jindal

February 03, 2014 10:40 IST

Describing the current United States immigration system as "completely backwards", Indian-American Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has said the country needs a system of "high walls and a broad gate".

"When it comes to immigration, we have got a completely backwards system today. What I believe we need is a system of high walls and a broad gate. Right now, we have got the opposite. We have got low walls and a narrow gate," Jindal told CNN in an interview.

"We make it very difficult for people to come here legally. We make it very easy for people to come here illegally. As the son of immigrants, I think that, certainly, a lot of people think we should let more people come in to our country because it's compassionate for them, and it certainly is," said the 42-year-old Republican leader, whose parents were immigrants from Punjab.

"I think we should also let more people come into our country legally because it's good for us. When people want to come here, work hard, get an education, play by the rules, that's good for America. This is a problem we can address. I think our system right now is completely backwards," he said.

Jindal argued that Republicans need to act.

"I do think its right to say we need to secure the border first. I think if the President had been serious about this the last five years; we would be further along in this discussion. I think the American people are compassionate," he said.

"I don't think we are the kind of people that are going to kick people out of schools or hospitals or punish kids for what their parents have done. But I think it's also right that the American people are sceptical," he said.

"There is broad agreement on letting people work here and contribute to our economy if they learn the language, they pay a fine, they pass a criminal background check. I think there is broad consensus," he said.

"We have got to reform the ways that people come here legally. We need to increase dramatically the opportunities for people to come into our country legally. Again, it's good for them, but it's also good for our country," Jindal said.

Lalit K Jha In Washington
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