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Utah representative says increased security should be top priority in the battle on the U.S. border

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah- (ABC 4 Utah) – The battle to secure the border is boiling over, with lawmakers on both sides of the isle now pointed at President Obama.
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah- (ABC 4 Utah) – The battle to secure the border is boiling over, with lawmakers on both sides of the isle now pointing at President Obama.

Representative Chris Stewart, of Utah's 2nd Congressional District doesn’t see a long term reform fix any time soon, but says it's clear something needs to be done, and now.

An estimated 11,000,000 undocumented immigrants are living in the United States, with an increased focus on the youngest who are crossing the border illegally.

The administration insists it's working within the law.

"The bottom line though is that the law will be enforced. And what that means is it means that these children who have been apprehended will go through the immigration court process," said White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest.

Reform is at a standstill in Washington.

The president blames congressional republicans for blocking a comprehensive plan in the House and is threatening to act alone through executive order.

Stewart says that's the problem.

"We're just so gun shy from him and his willingness to move out on his own and interpret the laws as he sees them, to change the law, to ignore the laws, to modify the laws."

Stewart and other house republicans want the comprehensive plan cut down into five or six smaller bills, starting with border security.

"Look what's happening the last 30 days on the border. I think it's impossible to argue that border security isn't where that legislation has to start and then let’s talk about the other issues that follow that," said Stewart.

Another sticking point is granting citizenship.

"It's impossible for someone like myself to offer citizenship to someone who has crossed the border illegally, they know they have acted illegally to do that, if they work they have certainly broken other laws in order to work," said Stewart.

He favors permanent legal status as a compromise, but doesn't expect any agreement this year.

The president has asked congress for $2 billion to add resources on the border in the short term.

Stewart believes he will get that.

The complete interview can be seen here.

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