U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan was in Rock County on Monday for one of his first appearances since the November election.
He spoke to about 100 constituents at the Holiday Inn Express in Janesville, taking questions about everything from sequester cuts to an Internet privacy bill. Ryan used his trademark Powerpoint presentation to discuss issues with the crowd, which largely included immigration reform.
"What I get out of these listening sessions is what is on the top of the minds of the people I represent," said Ryan. "There were a lot of questions about how does immigration reform work? What do you do about the undocumented? How do you secure the border? And those kind of questions tell me that's what's on the forefront of people's minds."
"Second to the budget deficit, I think it's one of the major problems," said Janesville resident Bob Mills of the immigration discussion.
"It's important to me because I know how much the people who come to this country, the immigrants coming to this country, work very hard to achieve the American dream," said Jose Castillo of Janesville. "The reason its important to me is that I'm an immigrant myself."
Ryan said he was working on a bi-partisan immigration bill in the House, rather than simply supporting the Senate's bill.
"That's the problem with immigration reform. We've never gotten it right and we need to get it right," said Ryan. "We need to have system where people immigrate legally to the United States, we need to have a system where we don't have an undocumented population five or 10 years down the road and we need to secure our border."
For some at the listening session that message was reassuring.
"It's something that I'm coming here supporting," said Maria Silva of Janesville. "I'm an honest person, work very hard to raise everything good enough for my family and I'm very sure that we can have it."
Ryan says Congress will work through the summer on that immigration legislation and he is hopeful that unlike the gun control discussion that ultimately failed on Capitol Hill earlier this year, that something meaningful will be done on immigration reform.
Ryan has six more listening sessions in the next three days to gather more input.