Two Republicans who were members of the House’s “gang of seven” that was writing the House’s comprehensive immigration reform bill quit the group on Friday.
Reps. John Carter (R-TX) and Sam Johnson (R-TX) withdrew from the group, citing a lack of trust in President Barack Obama to fully enforce and implement border security measures. Earlier reports indicated Carter and Johnson were pressured by conservatives who wanted more assurances on border security measures.
They also wrote that Obama has “time and time again” “unilaterally disregarded the U.S. Constitution, the letter of the law and bypassed the Congress – the body most representative of the people – in order to advance his political agenda.”
“Laws passed by Congress are not merely suggestions, regardless of the current atmosphere in Washington. Laws are to be respected and followed by all – particularly by the Commander-in-Chief,” they said. “The administration’s practice of hand-picking what parts of laws they wish to enforce has irrevocably damaged our efforts of fixing our broken immigration system.”
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), a member of the “gang of seven,” had earlier expressed frustration that the gang’s comprehensive bill was “not gonna happen.” Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) had dropped out of the group earlier in the year. The group now has five members, including Gutierrez, Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and John Yarmuth (D-KY).
Though the House is not likely to bring up a comprehensive bill, conservatives opposed to amnesty are still worried that the House will pass a series of piecemeal bills and then go to conference with the Senate, where provisions like a pathway to citizenship for all of the country’s illegal immigrants will prevail in the final bill.