Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour joined Democratic Party rising star San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro in Austin, Texas, this week to call for amnesty.
“It’s not dead,” Barbour said of amnesty efforts in the U.S. Congress, according to the Texas Tribune. “Work is being done on this. I can’t look you in the eye and say I know it’s going to succeed, but there is clearly a path to success.”
Barbour argued that amnesty would be good for the country and the only reason why Republicans are not supporting it is because it is politically dangerous for them to do so.
“What the Republicans need to do is not worry about the politics,” he said. “They need to do what’s good policy for the country.”
Barbour appeared side-by-side with Castro at the Civil Rights Summit in Austin. Castro said that when the GOP primaries in the House are over, it may get easier for Republicans under the leadership of Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor to grant amnesty to illegal aliens. “That may make it easier,” Castro said of the passing of the primaries.
Barbour’s decision to appear in public with a Democrat pushing for amnesty comes as one of his top allies in Congress, incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), is struggling against surging primary challenger conservative state Sen. Chris McDaniel. Barbour himself, and most of his family members and other allies, are working overtime in Mississippi to try to the six-term Cochran, who is seeking a seventh term.
Despite claims from Cochran’s re-election campaign that he has always voted against amnesty, a fact check from Breitbart News found Cochran has made several votes that favored amnesty for illegal aliens.
McDaniel is strongly against amnesty, having said numerous times in interviews including with Breitbart News that he opposes amnesty.
A spokesman for Cochran has not responded when asked whether the senator agrees with Barbour’s comments in Texas in favor of amnesty.
Barbour’s comments also come as another former GOP governor, Jeb Bush of Florida, politically tumbled this past weekend when he said illegal aliens crossing the border were partaking in an “act of love.” Barbour and Bush appeared together in June 2013, as the Senate was debating the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill, to cheer for its passage and for action on the bill in the House.
“I think it’s a good start, the fact that it’s bipartisan and they’ve worked hard on it,” Barbour said of the Gang of Eight bill during that appearance with Bush at an event hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center. “I don’t think it will ultimately pass. I think the Senate is likely to amend it some. I think the–I would hope the House would pass a bill that certainly won’t be exactly the same. It may be quite different in some ways from the Senate bill.
“Whether they pass several small bill and engross them through conference, or whether they decide to pass one big bill, which I think is unlikely in the House, then I think we’ll go to conference with two bills that will have some substantial differences that’ll have to be worked out. That’s the way the process works. I am hopeful that in this Congress we will get a bill, that we will get an immigration reform law that we can put into effect immediately after passage.”