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Mario Díaz-Balart, a Republican congressman from South Florida, has spent most of his last year trying to convince members of his caucus to support comprehensive immigration reform. One by one, he spoke privately with fellow Republicans until, according to him, he had secured the numbers necessary to pass a reform bill in the House of Representatives.

He was able to do this this because he proposed a version of immigration reform that would make it easier for immigrants who are in the country illegally to become citizens, while also making them go to “the back of the line.” He’s close-lipped about other details of his plan.

Yet despite all his hard work, Díaz-Balart failed. Immigration reform in Congress was derailed and most have given up, for now. Reporter Matt Laslo sat down with the congressman in a Washington D.C. diner to ask what went wrong.

 

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

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MATT-LASLO

Matt Laslo

Based on Capitol Hill, Matt Laslo is a freelance reporter who has been covering Congress, the White House and the Supreme Court for more than five years. While he has filed stories for more than 40 local NPR stations, his work has also appeared in The Atlantic, The Chattanooga Times Free Press, National Public Radio, The Omaha World-Herald, Pacifica Radio, Politics.

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