Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) is using the Republican National Committee (RNC) to bolster his attack on Republicans opposed to rushing through an unexamined comprehensive immigration reform package.
Leahy made the move in his letter berating Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) for joining all his Senate Judiciary Committee GOP colleagues except for the two who are members of the so-called “Gang of Eight” in calling for an open and transparent immigration reform process.
“I am encouraged by the recent recommendations in what is being called its ‘autopsy’ of the last election, in which the Republican National Committee wrote that your party ‘must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform,'” Leahy wrote to Sessions.
The full quote from the RNC “autopsy” report reads: “We are not a policy committee, but among the steps Republicans take in the Hispanic community and beyond, we must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform. If we do not, our Party’s appeal will continue to shrink to its core constituencies only.”
Now that the RNC, which admits it is not a vehicle from which policy should be drafted, has taken to advocating a specific policy proposal, such advocacy is being used by Senate Democrats to drive a wedge between Republican lawmakers.
“I hope that you and other Republican Senators on the Committee will do so [support immigration reform],” Leahy chided Sessions. “I am encouraged that after two resounding presidential defeats, some Republican politicians are concerned enough about the growing Hispanic voting population that they are abandoning their former demagoguery and coming to the table.”
“I welcome Republicans to this effort,” Leahy continued. “I am glad that Senator McCain is once again interested in supporting comprehensive immigration reform. I still worry that too many congressional Republicans continue to oppose a straightforward pathway to citizenship, but that is a discussion we need to have out in the open, in front of the American people.”