Republicans eye immigration reform after budget deal exposes party rift

The Guardian, 12/13/2013

Photo by J Scott Applewhite (AP)Immigration reform has emerged as the next Republican battleground after a high-profile split between party leaders and the Tea Party over budget compromise led to growing expectation of a similar bipartisan deal to legalise America’s 11 million undocumented migrants.

House speaker John Boehner signalled a major break from right-wing conservatives on Thursday when he accused activist groups of losing “all credibility” by opposing his efforts to reach a deal with Democrats over the $1tn federal budget. Heritage Action, a group behind many Tea Party Republicans, issued a testy response on Friday, claiming Boehner was trying to clear the way for immigration reform next year by severing his links with opponents on the right of the party.

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Op Ed: House GOP Needs to Put up or Shut up on Immigration Reform

The Huffington Post, 11/12/13

By David Leopold

Hundreds of thousands of immigrants 2 participate in march for Immigrants and Mexicans protesting against Illegal Immigration reform by U.S. Congress, Los Angeles, CA, May 1, 2006There is a reason the twitter hashtag #TimeIsNow caught on. The time really is now for Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and the House Republican leadership to allow a vote on a bipartisan immigration reform bill.  It’s been 5 long months since the Senate passed such a bill, and sent it over to the House for consideration.

But it’s been one excuse after another from the House GOP leadership.  First it was the Tea Party-manufactured fiscal crisis which consumed most of September and closed the government for the first two weeks of October.  Now the House GOP leadership — including even some like Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) who has worked to draft a bipartisan immigration bill — claim that time has run out this year on immigration reform; that the GOP leadership cannot possibly schedule a vote on a bipartisan bill because there are not enough days in the legislative calendar.

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Republican Voters Warn Lawmakers Against Citizenship for Illegal Immigrants

REPUBLICAN PARTY ELEPHANTNational Journal, 6/24/2013

The conservative rank-and-file have a loud and clear message for Republican officials: Support citizenship for illegal immigrants at your own peril. A sizable plurality of registered GOP voters say they will be less likely to support their incumbent lawmaker if he or she votes for immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship for those currently living illegally in the United States, according to the latest United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll. The findings show that even as national Republican leaders tout the Senate’s reform measure as a political necessity for the party, it remains a risky vote for individual GOP lawmakers wary of a primary challenger.

Among all adults surveyed, immigration is something of a moot issue: 42 percent of them said a vote either for or against immigration reform would not greatly affect their support for their senator or representative. Thirty-three percent said it would make them less likely to support him or her, and 21 percent said such a vote would make them more likely to back the incumbent.

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Immigration Amendments Reflect Concern About Border Security

Rand PaulThe New York Times, 6/12/2013

As debate started on Wednesday on amendments to the Senate immigration bill, border security emerged as a focal point, with supporters and doubters agreeing that those provisions would have to be strengthened to attract more votes, especially from Republicans. “In order to bring conservatives to this cause, those who want immigration reform must understand that a real solution must ensure that our borders are secure,” said Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, a Republican who is one of those conservatives.

Mr. Paul, a libertarian close to the Tea Party movement, said he supported the bill’s purpose of creating a pathway to legal status for illegal immigrant workers, but would not vote for it without tougher border provisions. The eight senators who wrote the overhaul bill say they are open to changes, but not to altering its core: a path to citizenship for 11 million immigrants now in the country illegally, with a sequence of border measures, known as triggers, along the way.

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G.O.P. Opposition to Immigration Law Is Falling Away

REPUBLICAN PARTY ELEPHANTThe New York Times, 3/19/2013

Republican opposition to legalizing the status of millions of illegal immigrants is crumbling in the nation’s capital as leading lawmakers in the party scramble to halt eroding support among Hispanic voters — a shift that is providing strong momentum for an overhaul of immigration laws.

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, a Tea Party Republican, on Tuesday became the latest to embrace a more welcoming approach, declaring to the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants that if they want to work in America, “then we will find a place for you.” While he never uttered the word “citizenship” and said a secure border must come first, Mr. Paul strongly implied that citizenship would eventually be available to them.

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Editorial: Fear and Loathing in Nevada

The New York Times, 10/20/2010

Sharron Angle did not show up at the huge Tea Party Express rally in Las Vegas on Tuesday night. She rarely makes public appearances anymore. But the event was almost entirely in support of her and the divisive, anti-immigrant platform she has promoted in her accelerating drive to replace Senator Harry Reid.

There was a folk song praising Arizona for its immigrant crackdown, and the featured speaker was Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Ariz., who marches illegal immigrants through the streets of Phoenix to tent jails in the broiling desert.

Ms. Angle said last week that every state should have a sheriff like Mr. Arpaio, and he returned the compliment, in his own particular, chilling way. “You guys have got a desert here,” he told the cheering, foot-stomping crowd. “Why don’t you put up some tents?” The laughter of his audience of about 2,000 people, most wearing free Angle T-shirts or buttons, practically shook the walls of Stoney’s Rockin’ Country nightclub, where hand-held signs proclaimed Mr. Reid, the Senate majority leader, a traitor, a socialist and garbage.

Many Nevadans may not like their choices, but they have a clear one. They can show that they will not cave in to the politics of division and fear.

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Activists Take Fight on Immigration to Border

New York Times, 8/15/2010

Hundreds of Tea Party activists converged on the border fence here in what is typically a desolate area popular with traffickers to rally for conservative political candidates and to denounce what they called lax federal enforcement of immigration laws. The rally brought a significant law enforcement presence as well as numerous private patrols by advocates of a more secure border.

But rallies, even daylong ones, are no way to seal the border. The Obama administration insists that its statistics show that significant financing increases in the federal Border Patrol have helped bring down crime at the border and make the smuggling of immigrants and drugs harder than ever.

But the activists who gathered Sunday had a decidedly different take. The border, in their view, is still far too easy to get across and has become so dangerous that some of them brought their sidearms for protection. Organizers urged participants to leave rifles in their cars.

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