The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller
Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., is arrested by U.S. Capitol Police officers on Capitol Hill during a immigration rally in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Goodlatte reverses statement on amnesty, again

Photo of Neil Munro
Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

House judiciary chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte has reposted a statement opposing an immigration amnesty that had been previously removed from his website.

His reversal came two days after the Republican’s base reacted to the news that he had dropped his language against amnesty.

On Saturday, his staff re-revised his website, which now says, “I remain opposed to amnesty, as I always have been. I do not support a special pathway to citizenship that rewards those who have broken our immigration laws.”

“Congressman Goodlatte’s website is updated periodically and unfortunately during an update early last year, his position on amnesty was inadvertently deleted,” a Goodlatte aide told The Daily Caller. “However, he is opposed to amnesty and always has been.”

The restored language is a small symbolic defeat for the progressives and business groups pressuring the GOP to help sharply increase the supply of cheap immigrant labor, and comes just nine days before a critical GOP strategy meeting.

But Goodlatte’s retreat is only symbolic, because his new language is weaker than his prior language. In April 2013, for example, his website declared that “we must crack down on illegal immigration and enforce our current immigration laws … [and] we must not grant amnesty to individuals who have broken our laws.”

Also, his new language leaves room for amnesty-like alternatives, such as the award of work-permits and residency — but not a citizenship option — to some or all of the 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States. On Sunday, for example, Goodlatte suggested that an immigration deal could allow illegals to stay and compete for jobs against Americans.

“I see no reason why we can’t also have an agreement that shows how people who are not lawfully here can be able to be lawfully here — able to live here, work here,” Goodlatte told the pro-immigration interviewing on the Spanish-language TV channel, Telemundo.

Goodlatte has already won approval from his judiciary committee for a bill that would allow employers to bring in 500,000 foreign guest-workers a year just for jobs in the agriculture and food industries, such as animal slaughterhouses. His district in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley includes an influential poultry industry that relies heavily on low-wage immigrants.

Under current rules, employers can hire roughly 50,000 foreign temporary agriculture workers annually.

Goodlatte’s website mentions his support for increased foreign hiring. ”The House Judiciary Committee, which I chair, has held numerous hearings on our immigration laws, and we have already passed several stand-alone bills that address particular issues, like enforcement of immigration laws and guest worker programs, within our immigration system.”

The agriculture-worker bill is also being criticized by left-wing groups as unfair for workers.

The Senate’s plan, passed in June, would allow the government to award green cards to 33 million new immigrants, and work-permits to roughly 13 million guest-workers, during the next 10 years.

That’s more workers than the roughly 28 million teenagers in the United States. Roughly 20 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed, and wages have been stagnant for decades for most Americans.

GOP leaders are under intense pressure from Wall Street donors and business backers to support an amnesty and to increase the current annual inflow of one million immigrants and 650,000 non-agricultural guest-workers.