Pro-amnesty activists are acting “with an increased sense of urgency” these days, the New York Times‘ Ashley Parker reported on Saturday.
The “urgency” of these activists is such that they are repeatedly sending the same groups of illegal aliens to a certain congressman’s town hall events to garner some rank-and-file GOP support for amnesty.
“Representative Scott Tipton, Republican of Colorado, entered his town hall meeting and quickly began greeting the assembled crowd, including those who did not necessarily share his political views,” Parker wrote. “He shook the hands of a group of Hispanic teenagers sitting in the front row, welcoming them like old friends. The teenagers, who had been brought to the country illegally by their parents as young children, had come the day before to lobby Mr. Tipton to support a broad immigration overhaul.”
At that point, Rep. Tipton (pictured) turned to one illegal alien teen, according to Parker, and said: “You were there yesterday!” Parker wrote that the teens “were dressed in red” and that they “had already attended several other events in his district.”
“Well, thanks for taking the time. Did you have a good drive?” Tipton added, according to Parker, before turning “to another member of the group.”
“I have not got you to smile once,” Tipton said to that illegal alien while, as Parker wrote, “offering a smile of his own, before moving to the front of the room to start his meeting.”
The political left, like pro-amnesty organizations and labor unions lobbying for comprehensive immigration reform, are attempting to pressure House Republicans such as Tipton to support an amnesty. In turn, they would use a surge in support from House GOP members to push House GOP leadership on the issue.
A little more than a week ago, House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte–all of House GOP leadership except for House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan–each publicly came out against formal negotiations with the Senate on the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill via a conference committee. Even so, Boehner said at a press conference last week that amnesty is “absolutely not” dead.
As such, the strategy from pro-amnesty organizations is to push through a piecemeal approach–something that would split the more-than-thousand-page Senate-passed bill up into a series of other bills. Anti-amnesty advocates warn that if a piecemeal process is to be done correctly, it must mean the border is absolutely secured and the nation’s interior immigration laws enforced before any other piece of the puzzle is even legislatively considered. Otherwise, it would be just a watered-down version of the Senate bill, something anti-amnesty advocates fear may be in the works behind closed doors. Anti-amnesty figures fear this specifically given that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and President Obama have endorsed a piecemeal approach, as have Sens. Chuck Schumer and Bob Menendez–both members of the Senate Gang of Eight.
Thus far, the left and big business have been largely unsuccessful in lobbying House Republican members to support amnesty. They have won over three Republicans: Reps. Jeff Denham (R-CA), David Valadao (R-CA), and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL). Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) also remains a member of the now-defunct House version of the Gang of Eight and is the only Republican left in that group, but he has not cosponsored the House Democrats’ plan–which USA Today describes as “mostly a replica of the Senate’s immigration bill.”
Denham’s support for amnesty has drawn him fire, as anti-amnesty groups in California are now running ads against him pushing back against it.
The comprehensive immigration reform movement has actually lost support from lawmakers like Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), the lead GOP member of the Gang of Eight, who effectively un-endorsed his own bill by coming out in public opposition to any efforts by the House to save it via conference committee in a recent Breitbart News exclusive. Reps. Raul Labrador, Sam Johnson, and John Carter each walked away from the House Gang of Eight at various different points, and Labrador came out in public opposition to negotiating with the Senate on the issue, saying it would be “crazy” for the House GOP leadership to do so after the way Senate Democrats and President Obama handled the government shutdown.
Rep. Ted Poe has also returned to his hardline immigration position after flirting with some kind of a deal this Congress, also citing the president’s and Democrats’ refusal to compromise on other issues like Obamacare.
Nonetheless, pro-amnesty special interest groups and Democrats are, as the Times‘ Parker wrote, “perhaps optimistically” targeting members like Tipton to try to get him to support their bill or a plan like it.
“This month, a coalition of immigration advocates, as well as labor and religious groups, inaugurated the ‘Cost of Inaction,’ a voter education and outreach campaign that targets nine House Republicans, Mr. Tipton included, to push for a vote on an immigration overhaul before the end of the year,” Parker wrote. “Though the Senate passed its own broad immigration bill in June with bipartisan support, immigration advocates have become increasingly frustrated with the House, which has made little progress on legislation of its own and is unlikely to take a vote this year.”
Parker then quoted AFL-CIO immigration campaign director Tom Snyder on the labor union’s plans to attempt to target Republicans like Tipton.
“We feel that to move them, we have to awaken the electoral vulnerability that Republicans face, both specific Republicans that have large and growing immigrant electorates and also the party as a national party,” Snyder said. “It’s very hard to think about them winning a presidential election with an immigrant electorate that’s growing and overwhelmingly hostile to the party.”
Tipton’s continued strident opposition to amnesty thus far, Parker notes, is because he feels loyal to the Tea Party movement. “One challenge for Mr. Tipton, said someone who has talked to him about the issue, is that he was first elected with the support of the Tea Party, a group that largely scorns a broad immigration overhaul as an amnesty, and he is hesitant to alienate this core constituency,” Parker wrote.
Even so, Democrats in the state are pressuring Tipton to cave–even though they haven’t been able to get him to thus far. One such Democrat, Olathe, Colorado, vegetable farmer John Harold, said he would reluctantly back Tipton over any conservative challenger in any primary were Tipton to support amnesty. “I don’t know that he’s going to come around,” Harold said of Tipton. “I don’t know if there’s a chance for him.”
But if he did “come around,” and if he were to face a primary challenge from the right because of his support for a broad immigration measure,” Parker wrote, Harold, a Democrat, said “we would have to support his [Tipton’s] candidacy.”
Billionaire Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has also relaunched his advocacy efforts for amnesty with a brand new advertising campaign through his outfit FWD.us. Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the leading senator in the fight against amnesty, has warned House Republicans to be on the lookout for legislative trickery.
“House members need to be on alert: it’s not step-by-step if the individual bills are combined into a comprehensive proposal in a backroom negotiation and delivered to the President’s desk,” Sessions said. “Instead, the House must insist that enforcement is accomplished before advancing any other immigration bills.”