In an apparent nod to the donor class, the Republican National Committee (RNC) has called on lawmakers in the House of Representatives to pass an immigration bill aimed at helping companies that say they need immigrant workers.
Time‘s Zeke Miller reported Friday that the RNC has passed a resolution at its annual event in Boston that calls on lawmakers to pass an immigration bill in 2013. The measure reads:
Resolved, that the Republican National Committee calls upon both Democrat and Republican members of Congress and the President to immediately authorize and complete construction of the double fence along our southern border that was approved in 2006 and is still not completed and sufficient law enforcement or military personnel to patrol; and create an effective means of enforcement for legal visitors who have not followed the terms of their entry into the country; and step up the penalty for illegally entering the United States from misdemeanor to felony.
The RNC also called on Congress and President Barack Obama “to implement immigration reform during the 2013 session based upon a merit system that emphasizes the economic contribution of each working immigrant can add to our nation.” The GOP similarly called on Congress and Obama to “create a new class of work permit that allows illegal immigrants who were brought into our country as minor children, and who have not violated any other laws of the U.S. to come forward and register and be allowed to remain and work in the U.S.”
“This new class of legal worker permit holders will not result in an application for citizenship or to petition citizenship for family members,” the party stated. “The work permit will require renewal every five (5) years and will require proof of employment or attendance in school during that period.”
The last part of the policy proposal the RNC demands is for Obama and Congress to “create a new work permit program that will allow foreign nationals who are currently in the country and have not violated any other laws of the U.S. to come forward and register and be allowed to remain and work in the U.S. The work permit will not result in application for citizenship nor any family members entering the U.S. and will require renewal every two years upon proof of continuous employment with no more than two (2) months per two (2) year period unemployed or convicted of a crime.”
Among other reasons, the RNC determined the necessity for this resolution it passed is because the U.S. needs to update its immigration system so it “focuses on the needs of United States employers.” The RNC says nothing in its resolution about having a focus on out-of-work Americans and ignores the massively negative impact such a policy position would have on American workers, especially minorities.
The fact that the RNC is now passing resolutions advocating specific policy proposals is an apparent reversal of a longstanding edict from chairman Reince Priebus that it would not actually handle such matters, and would focus its energy on beating Democrats. “He [Priebus] has been clear that’s its [sic] not the job of the RNC to do policy,” an RNC spokesman told Breitbart News a little over a month ago when pressed repeatedly for an answer on whether Priebus supports the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” immigration bill.
The RNC’s decision to take positions on such controversial issues, and from its pulpit advocate for specific policies that many Republicans disagree with, could hurt GOP candidates in their bids against Democrats too. For instance, Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR) is running against Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) for U.S. Senate on a platform he told Breitbart News is specifically geared against exactly what the RNC is now pushing for. Cotton said his opposition to amnesty, and Pryor’s vote for the Gang of Eight bill, is going to be a “central issue” of the campaign.
National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Bill Murphy told Breitbart News earlier this week that “all issues are on the table” in beating Democrats, but it is unclear thus far if the RNC proper will act in much the same manner. Despite having been asked two days ago whether the RNC will take the same stance as the NRSC that “all issues are on the table,” an RNC spokesman has still not answered.
In addition to those issues with the RNC’s stance here, the policy positions it takes actually go further than the Senate’s Gang of Eight bill by calling for providing legal status and worker permits to all those in the country illegally or legally, a classification that would seemingly include people here on student visas and other visas that do not currently allow them to work inside the United States. The discussion of how a “work permit” would be given to those who can show they have been in attendance in school during a five-year period would include that amount. Even the Senate bill does not provide work authorization to those in the U.S. on student visas and keeps them from being able to compete for already-scarce American jobs without obtaining another different visa.
The RNC stance does reject a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens, but legal status is still considered amnesty and a step on the road towards citizenship by most immigration hawks.
The RNC’s move comes as Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist, an advocate of this type of policy, said on Friday that it appears House Republicans may not do any immigration bills until nine to 12 months from now; House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and Speaker John Boehner have also been showing signs they may oppose an amnesty plan after all.