A day after President Barack Obama all but gave up on the passing of amnesty legislation this year, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) said the House Republican leadership is too afraid of the Tea Party to cross them on immigration.
“You have a small group of Tea Party folks in the House Republican majority that block it,” Gutierrez said on Tuesday’s Morning Joe. “Their numbers are enough to cause that kind of chaos within their own ranks.”
Gutierrez, who has been one of the most vocal pro-amnesty advocates, said that pro-amnesty Republicans in the House, like Rep. Mario Diaz Balart (R-FL), “can’t overcome fear the leadership has of losing their positions.”
On Monday, Obama said he would act alone to change as many immigration laws as he can because House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) informed him that there would be no vote on amnesty legislation this year. Gutierrez said that Boehner and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who was elected as the new majority leader, know that their leadership positions will be on the line if they move on amnesty legislation.
McCarthy was elected majority leader after House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was ousted in a primary election last month. Post-election polling found that Tea Party voters and the immigration issue were responsible for Cantor’s defeat.