Politics

Cotton Hits Sen. Pryor on Amnesty To Win Swing Voters

Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

The hot-button issue of immigration pushed Rep. Tom Cotton into politics, and now he’s using the issue to push Sen. Mark Pryor out of the Senate.

Back in 2007, when Cotton was serving in the army, he wrote a letter to Pryor objecting to the little-known “probational Z-visa” that was hidden deep in the 762-page 2007 amnesty bill drafted by Sen. Ted Kennedy.

The probational Z visa was “preposterous,” Cotton recently told The Daily Caller. It allowed anyone on the planet to claim residency — and eventually a Green Card — by giving government officials a few statements from friends claiming the illegal was living in the United States on the date the bill was passed.

Worse, the bill required government officials to approve each application unless the statements were shown to be fake within an impossible deadline of the “next business day,” Cotton said.

Now Cotton is running neck-and-neck with Pryor while the state’s voters watch 200,000 people from Central America flood over the Texas border.

“The border crisis has developed over the last three to four months… [and] I’ve received more questions about immigration than any other issue,” he said. Voters are asking, “What can we do to stop the border crisis. … what can we do to stop to Obama issuing another unilateral amnesty?”

“I am pro-immigration, pro-immigrant, but immigration has to work for Americans,” Cotton continued.

“I want an immigration system that works for them, I don’t want an immigration system that works for big business.”

An immigration system that works for Americans “would be good for the country, and if the Republican Party was responsible for it, we would benefit,” he said.

Since Aug. 4, Cotton has used a TV-ad to hammer Pryor for his support of the Senate’s 2013 amnesty bill, dubbed the “Gang of Eight” bill. Cotton’s ad says “Senator Mark Pryor voted for amnesty, citizenship for illegals.”

Back in 2007, Pryor voted “aye” to start the floor debate on Kennedy’s Z visa amnesty bill. But amid a massive public pushback, Pryor reversed himself, and voted two days later to prevent a decisive up-or-down vote on the bill. Kennedy’s failure to get that up-or-down vote marked the temporary defeat of his amnesty bill.

In June 2013, however, Pryor voted aye — as did every Democratic Senator — in the final up-or-down vote for the updated Kennedy bill, which was drafted chiefly by New York Sen. Chuck Schumer. The leading GOP supporter for the 2007 and 2013 amnesty bills, Sen. John McCain, said the 2013 bill should be named after Kennedy.

The Pryor-backed 2013 bill provided a multi-stage amnesty to at least 11 million illegals, and effectively doubled the annual inflow of legal foreign workers and immigrants, even though millions of Americans are unemployed or have given up looking for work.

GOP legislators in the House have blocked the bill, despite intense pressure from business, the White House and the media.

If the 2013 law had become law, it would have boosted unemployment and lowered Americans’ wages by annually providing employers with three or four low-wage foreign workers for every four Americans who turn 18. The bill would also have widened the record wealth gap between wage-earners and investors.