Rep. Steve King (R-IA) on Thursday pulled together a group of conservative colleagues to fight back against Democratic Party and GOP establishment efforts to grant amnesty to at least 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S.
King organized an invitation-only press conference for reporters from several different publications, including Breitbart News, at which he and Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Mo Brooks (R-AL), Lou Barletta (R-PA), and Michele Bachmann (R-MN), declared opposition to any and all efforts by career politicians inside the beltway to grant amnesty to the millions of illegal immigrants in the country.
In the 113th Congress’s immigration debate, only a handful of conservative Senators, led by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), have been fighting back against the amnesty attempts, especially without real border security or interior law enforcement reform. But now at least a small House contingent is joining Sessions and his conservative colleagues on the other side of Capitol Hill.
King said he is speaking up now because of the “inertia” of pro-amnesty lawmakers. “[W]e’re concerned about having this wash over us and not have the opportunity for the constitutional conservatives in this country and in this Congress to have their voice heard,” he said.
King also discussed the many erroneous conclusions drawn by colleagues, such as that the presidential election was lost because of certain misstatements or verbal gaffes, such as “self-deport” or “47 percent.” He also questioned the efficacy of using the fact that George W. Bush received a high percentage of the Hispanic vote as an excuse for the disappointing results in November.
[“I think it’s high time we had this discussion,” King added. “A number of us have sat back and watched with amazement at how quickly some of our colleagues leaped to erroneous conclusions. One of them would be on the morning of November 7, when a good number of them concluded that Mitt Romney would be president-elect that morning if we had just not said ‘self-deport.’
“Someone else would say, ‘well if he had only not said 47 percent.’ I don’t buy either one of those explanations,” he asserted.
“Those who say that George W. Bush got 44 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2004 would be wrong,” King argued. “There is no analysis that holds up that number of 44 percent but a careful analysis brings it down to either 38 or 40 percent. The question should be: ‘Could George W. Bush achieve either 38 or 40 percent of the Hispanic vote today?'”
“I don’t think so,” he replied, “but in any case, we are where we are with the momentum in the Republican Party. That momentum was started by people who wanted to make an excuse, I believe, for the election results that they had promised to be otherwise.”
Brooks said the reason why he is opposing amnesty is because his focus is on trying to help Americans do better. “If we have an immigration policy that serves the interest of America and Americans, then I’ll support it,” Brooks said. “If not, I won’t. I don’t look at Americans in terms of their sex or their place of origin or their skin color. I think that is highly inappropriate, that and other classifications that unfortunately we see bandied about more often. If America does well, Americans will do well.”
Bachmann pointed out how illegal immigration hurts America’s poor and minorities, a theme echoed by a letter sent by three members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Marcia Fudge. Bachmann said, “People who are American citizens at the lowest economic rung to date are getting hurt by the current lack of enforcement of national policies.”
Gohmert noted that this fight is necessary because the country simply cannot handle the burdens of the massive scale of illegal immigration that is going on. “We are told that there may be over one billion, a billion and a half, people in the world that would like to come to the United States,” Gohmert said. “When you have a country with just over 300 million, you cannot have that many people come in without destroying the fabric of the country. So, we have an obligation to manage if effectively.”
Rohrabacher said it is just “bad politics” and “bad policy” all the way around, and Barletta said he thinks that, because those pushing immigration reform right now keep using the phrase “path to citizenship,” this is all about politics and pandering.