How Conservatives Can Kill Amnesty

Last night, a small group of Republican lawmakers met to discuss how the House should proceed on the issue of immigration in the aftermath of the Senate’s relatively weak showing on the Gang of Eight.  That meeting was a prelude to a much more consequential meeting that will take place on Wednesday with the full House Republican Conference.  Going into that leadership meeting, conservatives must be united in their opposition to any House immigration bill until the current amnesty debate ends because it would lead to a conference committee with the Senate-passed amnesty bill.

John Dingell (D-MI), the longest serving member of Congress in our nation’s history, explained “I’ll let you write the substance … you let me write the procedure, and I’ll screw you every time.”  If House Republicans pass an immigration bill – no matter how good of a bill it may be – they will very likely end up in a conference committee with the Senate-passed immigration bill.  And to be very clear: the end result of any conference committee on immigration will be an amnesty-first bill.

Yesterday, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) explained “the American people expect that we’ll have strong border security in place before we begin the process of legalizing and fixing our legal immigration system.”  That is absolutely true, but it is the exact opposite of the Senate’ Gang of Eight plan.  As Heritage Action’s CEO Michael Needham said after the vote, “by pursuing an amnesty-first approach, [the Senate has] precluded any further action.” He went on to say that “Amnesty cannot be improved and the House should not try.”

If House Republicans are serious about real reforms to our nation’s immigration system, they will realize this is not the year to achieve such reforms.  Bill Kristol and Rich Lowry explain:

“House Republicans should make sure not to allow a conference with the Senate bill. House Republicans can’t find any true common ground with that legislation. Passing any version of the Gang of Eight’s bill would be worse public policy than passing nothing. House Republicans can do the country a service by putting a stake through its heart.”

Democrats are already preparing for an amnesty-first bill to emerge from conference.  In a memo obtained by the Washington Post, Democrats are targeting 99 House Republicans with the goal of flipping at least 20 to support an amnesty-first bill.

Conservatives must be clear in their opposition: they will oppose any House immigration bill  until the amnesty debate ends because it will lead to a conference committee that will produce an amnesty-first bill.



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