WASHINGTON, D.C. — A West Virginia Congressman, the grandson of Lebanese immigrants, says he isn’t ready to make wholesale changes to the current laws on immigration.

“I am opposed to amnesty for illegal aliens,” said Third District Congressman Nick Rahall, a Democrat.  “The law should apply equally and fairly to everyone as it did to my grandfathers when they came to this country.”

The U.S. House of Representatives is now beginning to tackle the immigration reform legislation.

A measure approved last week in the U.S. Senate included a comprehensive approach with a pathway to citizenship for those already living in the United States.

Rahall said indications are the Republican-led House will take on the reforms in separate bills and, in piecemeal fashion, address each issue of the matter.  So far, there’s been no indication of widespread support for a pathway to citizenship in the House.

“If we create a separate legalization process for those undocumented aliens, then we’re siphoning off scarce resources, away from many immigrants who are dutifully waiting abroad for their turn,” he said.

Rahall said he believes it’s fair to offer citizenship to those who’ve come here from another country legally.  However, he said everyone who becomes a U.S. citizen has a set of obligations and responsibilities to meet, much like immigrants from the 20th Century.

“Learn the English language.  Absorb our Constitutional principles. Abide by our law.” he said. “We must be protective of our jobs and salaries of our current American workers.”

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