Ayotte slammed by Schlafly over immigration

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte is getting an earful from conservative stalwart Phyllis Schlafly following Ayotte’s Sunday announcement  of support for the Senate’s pending immigration bill.

“Ayotte betrayed every conservative who supported her when she announced her support for this shameful bill,” Schlafly said in a Monday letter that highlighted Ayotte’s anti-amnesty platform in the 2010 Senate election.

In that race, Ayotte “said that we don’t necessarily need to add new immigration laws, we need to start by enforcing the laws already on the books [and] even ran ads against her Democrat opponent for supporting amnesty,’ said Schlafly, who founded the conservative Eagle Forum group.

“She has apparently been spending too much time with serial establishment election losers like Karl Rove instead of reading the bill,” said Schlafly, who has been active in conservative politics since 1946.

Rove, the former chief strategist to President George W. Bush, supports the immigration bill, and suggested that the GOP can win more than 40 percent of Hispanic votes. Throughout Bush’s tenure, Rove wooed Hispanic votes with government benefits, such as government-backed mortgages — until the mortgage bubble bust in 2007.

Opponents of the 1,077-page bill say the lower immigration rates can raise Americans’ wages, boost Hispanic support, and increase turnout by conservative, white working-class voters.

On Sunday, Ayotte announced she would support the controversial bill when it is debate on the Senate floor, starting Tuesday.

If passed by the Senate and House, the bill would bring in or legalize an estimated 33 million people over the next decade — or 250,000 a month — and allow companies to bring in more than 10 million non-agricultural guest workers. (RELATED: Senate begins immigration debate, spurs high stakes fight)

Ayotte is widely seen as an ally of Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who are two of the four GOP Senators working in the “Gang of Eight” with Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin, plus two more senators.

Her support likely provides a fifth GOP vote for the bill. Several Democratic senators may vote against the measure.

Ayotte made her announced after five former chairmen of the New Hampshire GOP penned an oped in the New Hampshire Union Leader.

The “bill increases the number of legal, skilled immigrants, helping high-tech employers such as Merrimack’s GT Advanced Technologies hire the engineers they need to grow our economy and create jobs for other Americans,” read the op-ed, which was signed by Steve Duprey, John Stabile, Wayne Semprini, Fergus Cullen and Wayne MacDonald.

“Hispanics are a rapidly growing demographic … [and] if our party can’t earn support from Hispanics and other non-white voters, not only will Republicans not win future elections, we won’t deserve too, either,” the five said.

In her Sunday statement, Ayotte said that “the bill …. [ensures] our hospitality and agricultural sectors are able to fill jobs that Americans won’t perform [by creating] a new guest worker visa program.”

Since July 2008, the number of Americans with jobs has dropped by 3 million to 144 million, while the working-age population has climbed 9 million to 245 million, including roughly 4 million working-age immigrants. In Ayotte’s New Hampshire, the employment total is still roughly 15,000 below its 2007 peak — despite a population growth of roughly 8,000 to 1.321 million. In 2012, companies won federal permission to bring in 1,237 guest workers into New Hampshire for skilled jobs.

Schlafly pulled no punches when criticizing Ayotte.

“Ayotte defeated a staunch conservative candidate by only about 1,600 votes, yet she is now supporting an Obamacare-like 1,000 plus page bill that was drafted behind closed doors, is full of payoffs to corporate and liberal special interests and actually weakens border security and guts interior enforcement,” Schlafly said in her statement.

“The bill she is supporting is an insult to hard-working Americans and it is not worthy of consideration on the Senate floor,” said Schlafly.

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