Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), a former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has apparently had enough of what he sees as the pro-amnesty mentality at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
In response to a panel which includes four proponents of comprehensive immigration reform and one critic, Smith ripped the American Conservative Union, which hosts CPAC, in a press release.
“You have to wonder when a self-described conservative organization stacks an immigration panel with amnesty advocates,” Smith accused. “For the second year in a row, CPAC has featured a panel where all but one speaker supports the agenda of liberal Democrats and the liberal national media. ‘Truth-in-advertising’ would require CPAC to drop the word ‘conservative.'”
There is only one panel discussing immigration at CPAC this year, scheduled for Thursday at 3:30 PM and titled “Can There Be Meaningful Immigration Reform Without Citizenship?”
The moderator, Mercy Viana Schlapp, is a principal at Cove Strategies. Helen Krieble, the president of the Vernon K. Krieble Foundation, will join Esperanza’s Rev. Luis Cortes, Jr. and the executive director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, Alfonso Aguilar, to debate the Heritage Foundation’s Derrick Morgan.
All of the panelists except for Morgan support various forms of comprehensive immigration reform, including granting legal status to illegal aliens in one form or another. They have publicly expressed those positions, as has the debate’s moderator, Schlapp.
That imbalance peeved Smith enough to issue a press release condemning CPAC.
Smith pointed to recent Gallup polling that shows only three percent of Americans prioritize immigration reform in 2014. “CPAC should focus on issues that the American people, including Hispanics, care about,” he said. “A January Gallup poll showed that only 3 percent of Republicans, independents, and Democrats consider immigration reform to be a top issue.”
If CPAC wants to talk about immigration, though, Smith said the conversation should focus on upholding the rule of law in America.
“In addition, a Bloomberg poll showed that 85% of voters want Congress to ‘strengthen border security and create a system to track foreigners entering and leaving the country’ before any other changes are made to our immigration system,” he said.