Audio files of last month’s Breitbart News interview with House Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) prove once and for all that allegations from Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) against Breitbart News are demonstrably false.
At a press event last week, Labrador refused to answer Breitbart News’ question about whether he would support curbing Muslim immigration. Labrador instead accused a Breitbart News reporter of “not truthful” reporting and refused to respond stating, “I don’t answer questions from you because you are not a truthful reporter and I will not answer any of your questions.”
When other media outlets later pressed Labrador on what specific reporting he had taken issue with, Labrador pointed to a Breitbart News article in which Jordan told Breitbart that the Freedom Caucus had not gotten a commitment from Speaker Paul Ryan about curbing immigration of Muslim refugees before a majority of its members voted to install Ryan as House Speaker.
Labrador falsely declared that Breitbart News wrote the article without ever asking Jordan about the refugee program. As the Huffington Post’s Matt Fuller writes, “‘He [Jordan] wasn’t even asked a question about the refugee program in that story,’ Labrador told The Huffington Post after the event.”
However, the article which Labrador attacked clearly showed how Jordan was asked about the refugee program on multiple occasions throughout the interview. The Breitbart News article reads:
Breitbart asked specifically about refugee resettlement: “Has he [Ryan] made any guarantees about advancing Brian Babin’s bill [to pause] refugee resettlement?”
Jordan replied, “He [Ryan] didn’t talk about that, no.”
Breitbart followed up, pressing Jordan again about whether they had plans to address refugee resettlement in the omnibus spending bill. Breitbart News explained, “In the omnibus spending bill, right now we’re writing a blank check to Office of Refugee Resettlement to resettle all of President Obama’s Syrian refugees.”
In response, Jordan did not say whether they intended to address refugee resettlement in the spending package and simply declared, “the House Freedom Caucus is going to be opposed to this bill, we’re all going to vote against this bill.”
When asked about how the audio file proves that Labrador lied about the Jordan interview, Jordan and his office didn’t defend Labrador’s inaccurate attacks on this reporter. But they did raise a concern with the interview.
“I think the article in question gave readers the wrong impression of my stance on responding to the Paris attacks because it reused answers from questions asked weeks before,” Jordan told Breitbart News after Labrador’s false attacks. “As I’ve said, I am for stopping the President’s refugee program, I have urged Speaker Ryan to take a similar position, and I believe the appropriations bill is the right vehicle for pursuing this much needed policy.”
Jordan did not answer two follow-up questions. One that he didn’t answer is why it took him until after a terrorist attack in Paris to formulate his opinions on refugee policy clearly. The other is what he thinks about the fact that Labrador is demonstrably lying about his interview with Breitbart News.
Audio files of the interview similarly make clear that Jordan was repeatedly asked about the refugee program and Muslim immigration in the interview, which took place prior to the Paris attacks.
Breitbart News pursued this line of questioning because, at the time the interview took place (i.e. prior to the Speaker’s election), conservatives had been expressing concerns that Paul Ryan, as Speaker, would not advance immigration reforms which the Republican electorate would like to see enacted— such as cutting of tax credits for illegals, cracking down on H-1B visas, or stopping the refugee resettlement program. Conservatives were worried about this specifically because Ryan has a two decade long history of pushing to increase immigration— a position which is at odds with 9 in 10 Republican voters according to Pew. As Breitbart News wrote a month prior to the Paris attack and prior to Ryan’s election as Speaker:
[If NumbersUSA’s President Roy Beck’s analysis about Ryan’s open borders immigration position is] correct… it would also mean that conservative lawmakers will be blocked from any attempt to advance legislative campaigns to curb immigration or to coordinate any public messaging designed to give voice to the concerns of working class Americans whose schoolhouses, jobsites and emergency rooms have been transformed by massive immigration.
For instance, Congressman Brian Babin recently offered legislation to halt all refugee resettlement – a bill sponsored by Rules Chairman Pete Sessions and Homeland Chairman Michael McCaul. Such a bill might never be brought to the floor under a Ryan Speakership. Nor would a plethora of enforcement ideas developed by anti-amnesty lawmakers including Mo Brooks, Steve King, Dave Brat, Louie Gohmert, Duncan Hunter, John Fleming, and Marsha Blackburn.
Yet many are pushing Ryan to grab the gavel.
This concern recently came to fruition last week, as the House Rules Committee blocked Babin’s amendment to the House’s refugee bill. Babin’s amendment would have placed a six month moratorium on allowing refugees into the United States.
As a result, many conservatives have explained that the legislation advanced by Ryan does nothing to halt the resettlement of Syrian refugees. As Congressman Walter Jones’ office wrote in a statement, Ryan’s legislation represents merely a “show vote on refugees” because the measure “would do nothing to cut off the funding for President Barack Obama’s plan to import tens of thousands of Middle Eastern refugees into the U.S.” Senator Jeff Sessions explained that the bill Ryan pushed through the House “allows the President to continue to bring in as many refugees as he wants from anywhere in the world.”
Because conservatives were so vocal about their fear that Ryan would not advance legislation to curb immigration, Breitbart News pressed Freedom Caucus Chair Jim Jordan on whether he had gotten guarantees from Ryan to advance popular immigration reforms before they voted to install him as their Speaker.
At the time, Jordan seemed to make repeatedly clear that he was not concerned about the disagreement between Republican voters and Paul Ryan on the issues of immigration and trade.
Breitbart News: Nine in ten Republican voters— I think getting to your mission statement— disagree with Paul Ryan on the critical issues of trade and immigration. If the situation were reversed and we’re talking about Democrat leadership, I mean, Nancy Pelosi would not be the Democratic leader if she violated some core tenet of her progressive base so… isn’t the 92% of Republican electorate entitled to a leader that represents their interests on immigration and trade?
Jim Jordan: We think in many ways he does. We think he is an outstanding messenger for our party. He was our standard bearer just a few years ago. And we think, if you go back 2-3 years ago and say, ‘Okay, in 2015, Paul Ryan is going to be Speaker of the House; there’s going to be a group called the Freedom Caucus who’s going to have real influence in how things are progressing and moving in the House, they’re going to have an impact on changing the rules to empower a broader cross-section and empower members and diffuse influence more broadly. And Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, who were in the Class of 2010 are going to have a real chance of being the Republican nominee. If you had said that a couple years ago, people would be like: [Jordan outstretches his arms and holds two thumbs up]. Right? That’s a pretty good picture. Now, are there some positions that Paul Ryan has that are different from mine? Yes. And that’s why when we gave our support for Paul Ryan, we didn’t accept anything on changing this motion to vacate– this fundamental right that we think is important– that was actually part of the catalyst for changing our leadership, obviously. Our group didn’t endorse him because we have a high threshold, and we have that intentionally, but we said a supermajority of our group thinks this is the right guy to lead at this moment.
Contrary to Labrador’s allegation, the audio file shows that Breitbart News asked Jordan specifically about Babin’s bill. Jordan even seemed to predict that under a Ryan Speakership, many of the immigration reforms desired by Republican voters are “not going to happen this session.”
Breitbart: Did you get any guarantees from him about good immigration legislation that will be passed— I mean 92% of the Republican electorate wants to see [bills like] tax credits…
Jordan: We did not ask him about that specifically, but you know things that actually— that are secure our southern border— we’re all for that. We want to do that, we just don’t want it to be used as a vehicle where the Senate gets to add stuff on, then it goes to conference. But only limited to security? We’d be fine with that.
Breitbart: Has he made any guarantees about advancing Brian Babin’s bill for refugee resettlement?
Jordan: He didn’t talk about that, no.
Breitbart: H-1B crackdowns? Anything like that? That’s replacing American workers
Jordan: He didn’t say specifics, but I think all of that is not going to happen this session. And again will only happen in future Congresses if in fact a majority of our team is for it.
The audio file, again shows that contrary to Labrador’s allegation, Breitbart asked specifically about the funding the refugee program in the Omnibus spending bill. Jordan refused to answer whether they would do anything to address refugee resettlement in the year-end spending bill.
Breitbart: In the omnibus spending bill right now we’re writing a blank check to Office of Refugee Resettlement to resettle all of President Obama’s Syrian refugees
Jordan: And the HFC is going to be opposed to this bill, we’re all going to vote against this bill.
After Jordan declared that he believed Ryan “in many ways does” represent the interests of Republican voters on immigration and trade, Breitbart News pressed Jordan on his own views on the matter— specifically as it relates to Muslim immigration.
Breitbart: Do you think immigration levels should be reduced?
Jordan: I think we need to secure the border, I think we need to reform the legal immigration system—
Breitbart: What does “reform” mean? Does that mean increase?
Jordan: If people want to come here for the right reasons, want to learn our language, and be a part of our culture, then we need to make it work well for those people. I’ve been to three different naturalization ceremonies where they take the oath in English. And when they’re sworn in as new citizens of the greatest country ever, the smile on their faces is special, and those people don’t want amnesty for people who broke the law and came here. That’s what we have to focus on.
Breitbart: But every year—legally— every three years we add another population [the size] of los angeles through our visa issuances. Do you think that should reduced, or do you think it should increased?
Jordan: I haven’t looked closely at that, Julia. What I think should happen is we should follow the law.
Breitbart: But that is the law— I mean every [three] years through visa issuances, we import another population the size of Los Angeles.
Jordan: I would have to look closer at it.
Breitbart: Because Dave Brat, I know, has taken a position saying that anyone running for the presidency should reduce immigration, which is a nine-in-ten issue with Republican voters.
Jordan: I think my position has always been follow the law. And that’s step one. And then where we need to change the law to make the system work better for people who, like I said, want to learn our language, to be a part of our culture, want to come here and chase the American dream, you’ve got to do it legally. That to me is, that’s the bottom line.
Breitbart: My question is— because this is all legal— in Columbus Ohio, I just learned this recently, you have the second largest population of Somali refugees [second to Minneapolis, Minnesota]. Equality Now just did a report that there’s 20,000 girls in Ohio that are at risk of Female Genital Mutilation—
Jordan: In Ohio? Wow.
Breitbart: —as a result of unbridled… Muslim migration. Every year we import quarter of a million Muslim migrants— and I guess the question that a lot of our readership wants to know— is in terms of visa issuances, do you think that number is too high? Should that [number] be reduced?
Jordan: I’d have to look at that closer. I have not looked at that particular. Like I said, what I’ve been focused on is let’s follow the law.
Jordan is not alone in being unfamiliar with immigration law.
Congressman Mick Mulvaney recently told South Carolina radio host Bob McLain, “Honestly I have no idea what the number of legal green cards [issued annually] is.” On his website, however, Mulvaney suggests that we should increase immigration levels, declaring that it is too difficult for foreign nationals to receive visas to enter the United States— despite the fact that the nation’s foreign born population is four times larger than any other nation. “The simple truth is our immigration system is broken… it’s too difficult to enter America the right way,” Mulvaney states on his website. It is interesting that despite declaring this, Mulvaney would then admit that he has “no idea” how many people “enter America the right way.”
Mulvaney’s apparent view that the United States needs to make it easier to obtain visas, is shared by Labrador who has a history of pushing to expand immigration levels.
Labrador was a member of the House’s Gang of Eight, which sought to pass Marco Rubio’s amnesty agenda in 2013, before he eventually dropped out of the group. Raul Labrador— whom conservative Congressman Steve King has described as “pro-amnesty”— has expressed his support for legalizing the illegal population with the possibility of granting them a path to citizenship.
As Labrador told reporters in 2013, “What I think should happen is for illegal immigrants to come out of the shadows, become legalized in some way and that status could lead in someway to legal residency and citizenship eventually but just the same as everybody else.”
Rosemary Jenks, the Director of Government Relations for the non-partisan immigration control group NumbersUSA, has explained that Labrador supports, “increasing immigration through the guest worker program, which NumbersUSA opposes.”
Moreover, as Breitbart News has previously reported, the Center for Immigration Studies’ Steve Camarota has observed that Labrador’s views on immigration are not much different than Paul Ryan’s fellow “Young Gun” Kevin McCarthy. Camarota explained, “I do not think that they [Labrador and McCarthy] are different in that both of them are part of that elite echo chamber on immigration.”
It is, therefore, notable that Labrador refused to answer Breitbart News’ question about whether he would support reducing immigration.
As a member of the House Freedom Caucus, Labrador played a critical role in helping to elect Paul Ryan as House Speaker. The Daily Caller‘s Matt Lewis has suggested that Labrador’s agreement with Paul Ryan on the issue of immigration may explain, in part, why Labrador helped install the Wisconsin Congressman with a long history of promoting large-scale immigration into the Speaker’s office.