As immigration reform takes center stage in the House, Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Lou Barletta stands ready to fight a bill like the bipartisan Senate “Gang of Eight” bill, which passed the Senate last week.
Before coming to Congress, Barletta was a small town mayor whose population expanded with illegal immigration without a commensurate growth in the town’s tax-base.
Then, on May 10, 2006, a local police officer with three children was gunned down by two illegal aliens. That event propelled Barletta to become focused like a laser on America’s immigration policy and its porous borders.
In an interview with The Daily Caller’s Ginni Thomas, Barletta said he didn’t come to Congress “to play politics.”
“I came here to do what’s best for America,” he declared.
Barletta argued in the interview that American citizenship is a special privilege that shouldn’t be given away like a “cheap suit.”
“We’re waving a green flag to people all over the world to come here illegally and benefit from … what our forefathers have worked for and generations before us have fought and died for, the freedoms that we have, and the opportunities that we have,” he said. “It’s special to be an American. It’s special to be here. We are blessed. Why are we giving it away like a cheap suit? We’re just giving away America to anyone who wants to come here, instead of saying, ‘We welcome you here, but we’re a country of laws and we will protect you when you get here and we will give you opportunities for a better life.’ What is wrong with that?”
Barletta also criticized how the Gang of Eight bill ties a pathway to citizenship to border security.
“The fact that there’s this pathway to citizenship that has to go along with border security makes me believe this is more about politics then what’s good for America,” he said.
As for the idea that the GOP needs to pass a bill like the Gang of Eight bill in order to attract Hispanic voters, Barletta doesn’t buy it.
“For politicians here to believe that the Hispanic community around America can’t see through that,” he said. ”I think, again, this is a misguided policy that is based on the fact that we lost an election, and they believe that we need to get the immigration issue off the table so that we can begin to have a discussion with the Hispanic population. Well, if we had a discussion with them before the election we would realize that that’s not the most important thing.”
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