Conservatives in the House of Representatives feel like President Barack Obama’s brief call for immigration reform legislation during Tuesday evening’s State of the Union speech fell flat.
Rep. Steve King (R-IA), a hawk on immigration, told Breitbart News to look at how the vast majority of Republicans in the chamber–with the exceptions of House Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), among few others–stayed seated in disapproval of Obama’s push for amnesty.
“It didn’t soar like some State of the Union addresses will,” King said.
It didn’t really challenge us greatly. One of the things I thought was instructive was to watch the Republicans when he brought up the issue of immigration and I thought he got a very tepid response from Republicans. I couldn’t count very many Republicans who were standing at the time. There was Mario Diaz-Balart and Paul Ryan and I’m going to guess some of our leadership that I couldn’t see. But it looked to me like if you were looking for company on that issue you had to look to the Democrats.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), another immigration hawk, told Breitbart News that Obama’s push for amnesty directly contradicts his claim to care for economically hurting Americans.
“His hard stand on immigration was in total contrast to a large portion of his speech where he was dealing with unemployment and giving people raises,” Rohrabacher said.
That’s because his position on illegal immigration will undercut jobs for the American people and tend to get down wages. You can’t have it both ways. Either you’re going to be tough on illegal immigration or you aren’t and if you’re not tough on illegal immigration by legalizing or giving amnesty to illegals you’re going to bring down wages and you’re going to lose jobs to foreigners.
Rep. Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), the fifth highest-ranking Republican in House GOP leadership, told Breitbart News that he thinks the president is more interested in politics over policy.
“The concern is we’re not convinced yet that the president’s really a willing party to work on policy,” Lankford said.
He seems to work very hard on the politics of immigration but not the actual policy of it. There’s a real belief within a lot of Republicans that whatever we pass he’s not going to enforce. He made that clear even with statements tonight that he’ll go around Congress to do this. There’s this sense of what if we pass stronger enforcement, everyone agreed to it and the president just ignored it? He seems to have that pattern. That doesn’t help us in the immigration process. In one moment he’s saying we should do it and in another he’s undercutting the hopes of it.
About the president’s State of the Union remarks on the matter, Lankford added: “It was a very short comment about immigration.”