Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith, former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said Tuesday that the immigration reform plan pushed by the bipartisan Gang of Eight in the Senate is unlikely to pass the House of Representatives.
“It is not inevitable,” Smith said on “The Laura Ingraham Show.” “I don’t think it’s going to happen for lots of good reasons.”
“This is nothing new, the same individuals who have been for amnesty in the past are for amnesty today. That shouldn’t surprise anybody,” he said, explaining he hasn’t seen a surge of new support for the idea “that we should legalize everyone in the country.”
“Why don’t we do what is good for America, what is good for American taxpayers, and American citizens,” he added. “Yes what they proposed is good for citizens of other countries, but that shouldn’t be our priority, as much as we welcome them, and we do welcome them — 1 million legal immigrants a year, as many as every other country combined.”
Smith stressed that America is a “generous country” and “welcoming nation,” but noted that there are proper channels to enter legally.
“If you legalize 11 million people, it is going to cost taxpayers when they become eligible for government benefits, it’s going to cost Americans their jobs when hey have to compete with millions of more people for scarce jobs at a high unemployment time. I don’t see much good here for Americans in this country today.”
Smith continued explaining that the promise of border enforcement is too weak given past precedent, and an administration that has “undermined and ignored existing immigration laws” and lawsuits against enforcement provisions.
“So frankly people who talk about border security who are for amnesty, they just have no credibility on the subject whatsoever,” he said, nothing that just 40 percent of the southern border is under “operational control,” or “almost an open border.”
Smith predicted that a majority in the House will oppose the proposal.
“Out of the large majority of Republicans, and some Democrats as well, will oppose amnesty to virtually everybody in the country illegally,” he said.
While Smith agreed that the GOP needs to appeal to Hispanic voters, he argued that immigration is not their top priority. Instead they are more interested in the economy and jobs, which is something Smith argued Republican presidential candidiate Mitt Romney did not do effectively.
“I certainly do not see a majority of the House voting for mass amnesty and legalizing everybody in the country illegally.” Smith reiterated. “Maybe the House is going to be the firewall here but we still need to come up with ways to attract Hispanics to the Republican Party, but we can do that economically not playing in the field of the Democrats.”