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Paul Ryan says it's a question of when, not if for immigration reform. Photo by: Photocall

Paul Ryan stands firm on US immigration reform

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Paul Ryan says it's a question of when, not if for immigration reform. Photo by: Photocall

Paul Ryan, one of the most outspoken members of the GOP when it comes to immigration reform, reaffirmed his commitment to progress at an event on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.

Speaking before members of the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Ryan painted immigration reform as inevitable.

“We think there’s a way to do it. To me, it’s not a question of if we fix our broken immigration laws, it’s really a question of when,” he said.

Congressman Ryan was joined by his fellow GOP representatives Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida and Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus. Unlike a number of their Republican counterparts, the two congressmen have been calling for change in the near future rather than acknowledging it as a distant possibility.

Diaz-Balart called immigration reform the “800-pound gorilla” in Congress, but still expressed determination.

"I am absolutely convinced that finally we will be able to solve that issue that people thought was unsolvable, but that we know that we can do because we have the legislative language," he said. "With your help, we can get this done."

While neither Ryan nor Diaz-Balart listed many specifics about how they would ‘get this done,’ their remarks are viewed as promising coming on the heels of a number of other immigration reform actions, including the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform’s Irish Lobby Day on March 12.

Immigration reform was also the hot topic at the official St. Patrick’s Day celebrations at the White House. Before that audience of Irish and Irish American community leaders, President Obama said:

“The American Dream has always been the Irish American Dream. And that’s why so many of you have been working with us to fix our broken immigration system. Under today’s laws, many of your parents and grandparents may not have made it here. And too many men and women who want to contribute to our economy are being denied that chance. There’s no reason why we can’t do for this generation of immigrants what was done for a previous generation, to give them that chance.”

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