Written by Right Side News
Right Side News reports on comprehensive immigration reform legislation being charted this week by the GOP House from the Federation for American FreeImmigration Reform:
This Wednesday afternoon the House of Representatives' Republican majority will meet to discuss the chamber's path forward on the critical immigration issue. (Politico, June 13, 2013) The July 10 meeting was set after true immigration reform advocate Rep. Steve King (R-IA) garnered sufficient signatures from his fellow Republicans to require leadership to hold the closed-door session. (brietbart.com, July 1, 2013)
The goal of the meeting is to give rank-and-file House Republicans the ability to voice their opinion on the type of immigration legislation the House will take up this session. Speaker Boehner has already promised to follow their will when it comes to what he will bring to the House floor. "For any legislation — including the conference report — to pass the House it's going to have to be a bill that has the support of the majority of our members," Speaker Boehner told reporters the day the Senate passed its amnesty bill. (Politico, Jun. 27, 2013) He was also recently quoted by an anonymous Hill source as saying the Senate bill was "dead on arrival" in the House. (brietbart.com, July 1, 2013)
Members opposing amnesty are vowing to hold Speaker Boehner to his promise. "If Speaker Boehner moves forward and permits this to come to a vote even though the majority of the Republicans in the House — and that's if they do — oppose whatever it is that's coming to a vote, he should be removed as Speaker," declared Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA). (Politico, June 18, 2013) "I would consider that a betrayal of the Republican members of the House and a betrayal of the Republicans throughout the country." (Id.)
Moreover, many prominent House Republicans have already spoken out against the Senate's 1,200 page amnesty bill. "The Senate bill, in my opinion, repeats the mistakes made by the Congress in 1986," said House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA). "It gives 11 million people a legal status almost immediately." Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) another member of the House Judiciary Committee likened the Senate amnesty bill to Obamacare. "The Senate bill is a 1,200-page boondoggle that has waivers and exemptions like those in Obamacare, giving Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet A. Napolitano broad discretion to ‘waive the rules.'" (Washington Times, July 1, 2013)
Despite the Senate's passage of mass amnesty bill S. 744 June 27, the majority of Senate Republicans — including GOP leadership — opposed the legislation. Thirty-two Republicans voted against the bill, meaning 70% of Senate Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Minority Whip John Cornyn, and Republican Conference Chair John Thune, did not support it.
If you have a Republican Member of the House of Representatives who you would like to speak out against amnesty at the July 10 meeting, contact him or her using the Capitol Switchboard at: 202-224-3121. Click here to find your Member.
Although the Senate recently passed S. 744, the Gang of Eight's 1,200 page bill that would immediately grant amnesty to illegal aliens in the U.S. before any enforcement efforts are made, several open borders groups are now opposing the bill based on border security provisions they say are too extreme.
"[W]e cannot support a bill that is  guaranteed to increase death and destruction in immigrant life through increased militarization of the border," the pro-amnesty group presente.org said in a June 24 statement. The Border Network for Human Rights made a similar statement last week, saying S. 744 no longer represents their interests. "If this bill becomes the law, it will swallow our traditional values of freedom and liberty for all and gravely endanger our rights and dignity. For the more than six million people who live in border American communities between San Diego, California and Brownsville, Texas, S.744 is a promise of abuse, violation and death."
The outpouring of dissent from open borders groups comes in response to the inclusion of the Corker-Hoeven amendment to the bill. In the days leading up to its final passage, Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN) and John Hoeven (R-ND) brokered a backroom deal with Sens. Harry Reid (D-NV) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) over a "border security" amendment to gain Republican votes to pull the bill over the finish line. Among other things, the amendment's authors say it will secure the U.S. border with Mexico by adding 19,200 Border Patrol agents to the Southern border, require that 700 miles of fencing be built along the Southern border, and require DHS to implement billions of dollars in specific technology and resources for each Southern border sector.
However, despite these claims by the bill's authors, its provisions are so watered down with exceptions and administrative waivers they are effectively nonexistent. (See The Corker-Hoeven Amendment is a Mirage) For example, the Corker-Hoeven amendment left intact existing language in the bill that provides the Secretary of Homeland Security is not obligated to build a single mile of fencing if he or she does not feel it is necessary to secure the border. Moreover, while the amendment specifically enumerates certain technology be placed along the border, the amendment also provides that the Secretary may re-allocate any of the resources required by the bill or substitute the technologies listed with any other technologies the Secretary deems fit, again rendering the provision useless. Nonetheless, open borders groups who feel the Obama Administration is already too tough on immigration have decried these provisions as too strict, demonstrating these groups will not stop until there is zero immigration enforcement.
In addition, several pro-amnesty Members of Congress are expressing similar concerns. In fact, Rep. Filemon Vela (R-TX) resigned from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to protest the Caucus' strong support for the Senate bill. "Erecting more border fence drives a wedge between border communities which are culturally united... The current border fence has come to symbolize divisiveness and serves as a daily reminder of a flawed immigration system," said Vela. (CBS News, July 3, 2013) Fellow Texas Democrat Rep. Beto O'Rourke agreed with Vela and argued against what he calls any "further militarization" of our nation's borders. "Rather than further militarize our border by spending $50 billion to double the number of Border Patrol agents and build more than 700 miles of border wall for a threat that does not exist, we should focus scarce resources on economic opportunities and on real threats like terrorism, drug trafficking and smuggling," said O'Rourke. (O'Rourke Press Release, June 27, 2013)
Such opposition to increased enforcement is hardly new to the open borders movement. Several groups criticized the 1986 amnesty for not being broad enough, including the National Council of La Raza where current White House Director of Domestic Policy, Cecilia Munoz, was then a senior vice president. (See FAIR Legislative Update, Mar. 4, 2013)
In a position paper approved by the National Sheriff's Association's (NSA) Board of Directors June 25, the organization representing Sheriff's from around the country expressed its strong opposition to amnesty and its support for more immigration enforcement and increased border security.
In particular, the NSA's position paper calls for:
The enforcement of current immigration laws;
More funding for state and local partnership programs, such as 287(g) and Secure Communities, as well the reestablishment of a process by which local law enforcement agencies can seek 287(g) training;
Completion of the 700 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border and construction of double and triple layer fencing;
A requirement the Social Security Administration issue no-match letters to employers; and
The aggressive prosecution of employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens.
In addition, saying the 1986 amnesty "did little to stop the flow of illegal individuals from coming across the borders," the NSA also declared it "strongly opposes outright amnesty" for illegal aliens. However, its statement did propose to legalize the country's illegal immigrant population through a guest worker program by which citizenship cannot be obtained.
To read the statement in its entirety, click here.