Conservative immigration reform groups say the 2008 law is a media-magnified distraction from Obama’s welcoming policies, which have put many or most of the 100,000-plus border-crossing adults, youths and kids on track to get green cards.
The conservative groups implored Boehner to discard any plans for a legal change that would trigger an expanded conference. “We fervently urge you to force the Obama administration to stabilize the border with the resources it already has through existing immigration laws,” said the letter from the group, which included NumbersUSA.
“Boehner and the leadership, if left to their own devices, would try to hammer out some kind of amnesty deal behind closed doors,” said Ira Mehlman, a spokesman at the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
The Daily Caller asked aides to Rep. Paul Ryan, the GOP’s budget chief and a major advocate for an expanded immigration rewrite, if he had made a public commitment to not expand the conference.
“Congressman Ryan has said a number of times he has no desire to go to conference on the Senate-passed immigration bill,” said a statement from his spokesman, Kevin Seifert.
Existing laws includes many options for excluding and repatriating the 100,000-plus Central American adults, youths and children who have crossed the border since October, the letter said.
Next year, the 2008 bill should be fixed to ease repatriation of youths from countries that don’t share a border with the United States, said the letter. There’s no need to make that change this year while the Senate is controlled by Democrats, said the letter.
The Senate’s bill has been largely defunct since August 2013, when the GOP leadership refused to schedule a House vote on the bill.
In June 2014, the primary defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor by upstart Dave Bart, seemed to bury the Senate bill for good. Brat won the district by slamming Cantor as a “crony capitalist” who would import low-wage immigration labor to pad Wall Street profits.
But now the GOP leadership is threatening to split the party before the November elections, and also help Democrats shift blame to the 2008 law for Obama’s decision to not stop the Central American border-crossers.
If the House doesn’t change the 2008 bill, then the Senate immigration bill will die in January 2015 once a new Senate is sworn into office. Progressives and business groups will then have to restart their huge effort to get a bill through the Senate’s committees and final votes.