Senate Democrats are angling to include the entire “Gang of Eight” bill in a conference committee with whatever border crisis bill comes out of Speaker John Boehner’s House of Representatives, Politico reports.
“The only way any piece of the House proposal could become law is if it was conferenced with the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill, which is something we’d certainly consider,” a senior Democratic aide told Politico.
Gang of Eight Republicans Sens. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) recently issued a joint statement saying they did not want this to happen, but there’s no stopping Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and Speaker Boehner from entering a conference committee at which this could happen if both Reid and Boehner want to.
But the left is ramping up using its battle plans to force Republicans into a worse position with this too. “House GOP wants to change immigration policy on border bill,” Frank Sharry, a pro-amnesty advocate, Tweeted on Tuesday. “We do too: CIR [Comprehensive Immigration Reform]. Look forward to Senate Dems demanding CIR in conference.”
The Senate Democrats’ boldness comes as Speaker Boehner and House GOP leadership backed down, refusing to fight President Barack Obama’s plans to use executive orders to grant amnesty via executive order to 5 to 6 million illegal aliens in America.
The final legislation that Boehner’s border crisis working group, led by Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), introduced on Tuesday afternoon includes no plan to fight the president on his executive amnesty plans, despite numerous efforts by senior conservative Republicans to get the speaker to do so. Instead, Boehner’s plan offers $659 million for the border crisis and makes a few minor changes in policy that don’t get close to solving what key immigration hawks say is the root cause of the problem: the perennial promise of amnesty to illegal aliens by executive order from President Obama.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) have introduced a plan that would block President Obama’s administration from expanding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that administratively granted amnesty to upwards of 800,000 illegal aliens who say they arrived in America as minors. Their legislation–which has backing from key lawmakers in both the House and the Senate– would bar funding of the documents the administration needs to produce to carry out such an order.
Cruz’s and Blackburn’s argument is that the current border crisis–in which about 60,000 illegal alien minors are being sheltered in U.S. facilities around the country–is a direct result of the promise of amnesty the illegal aliens expect they will receive if they get inside America’s borders successfully.
“What I want to do is solve the crisis,” Cruz said in an interview on Fox News Sunday last weekend. “The cause of this crisis is the promise of amnesty. If you look at the history of this issue–in 2011, there were roughly 6,000 children apprehended coming in illegally. Then in 2012, President Obama unilaterally granted amnesty to some 800,000 people who were here illegally who entered as children. The direct foreseeable consequence of that was the number of unaccompanied children skyrocketed so that this year, the Obama administration is estimating that 90,000 kids will come, next year 145,000. That’s up from 6,000 just three years ago.”
In an interview with Breitbart News, Blackburn echoed Cruz, saying that the illegal alien children are “pawns” in Obama’s “political agenda.” Blackburn said that the “root cause” of the illegal aliens crossing the border is the promise of amnesty.
“When you talk with people who are on the border and who are dealing with this situation, when you look at the escalation rates on the numbers–in 2009, for unaccompanied minors, they had 6,089 come across the border,” Blackburn said. “In 2013, they had 24,658 come across the border. The numbers tell the story. When you go back and look at the facts, you see such dramatic increases that are happening and it is tied to this executive memo that was signed in June of 2012, and then you know what you got to do is get that thing off the books.”
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, has called on every lawmaker in both the House and Senate to back the Cruz-Blackburn legislation or remain “complicit in the nullification of our laws and basically the nullification of border enforcement.”
Sessions called a previous version of the Boehner working group proposal an “institutional surrender” to Obama’s “planned illegality.” While Boehner has made other minor changes, he has not made the key change that anti-amnesty advocates like Sessions are pushing for: an end to DACA.
Conservatives and Republicans across the conference are sure to be incensed at Boehner’s decision to let Obama do whatever he wants when it comes to immigration.
“The fact is, our southern border is wide open; it is practically undefended and everybody knows it,” Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) said in a recent House floor speech. “The many thousands streaming across it know that if they break our laws and enter the country illegally, they will be rewarded with free food, clothing, housing, medical care, transportation, legal representation and relocation, all at the expense of struggling American families. Ninety five percent of them believe they’ll get ‘permisso’ to stay – and at the moment, they’re right. Until we fundamentally change that reality, the mass incursion of our borders will continue and our nation’s sovereignty will slowly fade away.”
Rep. John Fleming (R-LA), a conservative who has fought GOP leadership to get them to include language that stops DACA and an expansion of it, told Breitbart News on Monday evening that if the House doesn’t stop Obama here there’s no telling what lawlessness the president may engage in next: “If the president is allowed to break these laws, both with Obamacare and with immigration, what is to keep him from breaking other laws?”