Both men share the view that the country badly needs to deal with the immigration issue.
Senate passage of historic immigration legislation offering citizenship to millions looks near-certain after the bill cleared a key hurdle with votes to spare.
A final vote in the Senate on Thursday or Friday would send the issue to the House, where conservative Republicans in the majority oppose citizenship for anyone living in the country illegally.
At its core, the Senate bill would create a 13-year pathway to citizenship for an estimated 11 million immigrants living illegally in the United States.
The measure also would create a new program for temporary farm laborers to come into the country, and another for lower-skilled workers to emigrate permanently. At the same time, it calls for an expansion of an existing visa program for highly-skilled workers, a gesture to high-tech companies that rely heavily on foreigners.In addition to border security, the measure phases in a mandatory program for employers to verify the legal status of potential workers, and calls for a separate program to track the comings and goings of foreigners at the nation's seaports and airports
"We can find the balance here in providing a legal pathway to citizenship, and continuing to realize the great economic benefits of immigration not only throughout the nation, but right here in Western New York." Higgins said.
Higgins expressed that if the US does not adopt a new, more progressive policy soon, it could be a detriment to the economy, saying that "when you look at the countries in Europe that have experienced great economic decline, it's those [same] countries that have a negative view on immigration."
Despite Collins' views on the immediate need for some type of immigration reform, he said that the pathway to citizenship bill goes too far, and that he can't see Republicans in the house providing a path to citizenship for adults that have entered the United States illegally.
Some GOP lawmakers have appealed to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, not to permit any immigration legislation to come to a vote for fear that whatever its contents, it would open the door to an unpalatable compromise with the Senate
If the immigration bill passes, it would be the biggest change to the nation's immigration laws since 1986.
"Now is the time to do it," President Barack Obama said Monday at the White House before meeting with nine business executives who support a change in immigration laws. "I hope that we can get the strongest possible vote out of the Senate so that we can then move to the House and get this done before the summer break"
Buffalo's Early News
Hear Immigration Attorney Matthew Kolken of Kolken & Kolken
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WBEN Politics Contributor Dave Levinthal
Cong. Chris Collins (R- Clarence)
Cong. Brian Higgins (D-Buffalo)
"I think we're building momentum," said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., who worked with Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., on a $38 billion package of security improvements that helped bring Republicans on board by doubling the number of border patrol agents and calling for hundreds of miles of new fencing along the border with Mexico. Those changes brought border security spending in the bill to $46 billion.