House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is “hellbent” on passing amnesty legislation, and other GOP leaders are signaling to donors and lobbyists that they also want to pass legislation this Congress, even though attempting to do so would depress the GOP base and create divisions within the party ahead of 2014’s midterm elections that could give Republicans control of Congress.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Boehner told donors at a Las Vegas fundraiser in March that he was “hellbent on getting this done this year.” After he met with President Barack Obama at the White House in February, Boehner said that he agreed with Obama on immigration during the meeting.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, also reportedly delivered an “upbeat message about legislative prospects during a recent trip to Silicon Valley” where he attended a fundraiser in which donors who wanted more high-tech visas paid $10,000 to $40,000 to hear him speak. He told attendees that votes on five to seven pieces of legislation were “entirely possible,” according to the Journal.
As Breitbart News has reported, Goodlatte’s “SKILLS” Act, which is also backed by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and has passed out of committee, “would also double the number of H1-B visas that the high-tech industry covets.” However, numerous studies have shown that the notion that there is a shortage of high-tech American workers is a myth.
In addition, the Journal noted that Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), who said that Obama would act unilaterally if amnesty legislation was not passed, is also drafting “legislation that would give qualifying undocumented immigrants legal status and the chance to apply for citizenship through existing channels.” House leaders have reportedly told Diaz-Balart to have the legislation ready by June or July.
Amnesty proponents are reportedly divided on whether to push for legislation now or possibly in the next Congress, when Republicans could control both chambers. Pro-amnesty advocates think that Boehner, if he does not retire, and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), if he becomes Majority Leader, may try to push through legislation to try to help the party’s 2016 nominee with Hispanics, even though there is no data to indicate that Hispanics would become Republicans if the party passes amnesty legislation.
Other pro-amnesty advocates believe that if Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) heads the Senate Judiciary Committee next year, amnesty legislation may be more difficult to get through, according to the Journal.
Since top Democrats like Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) have said that this was the last chance for widespread amnesty legislation, more donors and lobbyists do not want to take chances and want legislation this year.
Momentum for immigration legislation has stalled after Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL) denounced the House GOP leadership’s “immigration principles” as “amnesty,” as Breitbart News reported. And even though Obama may enact administrative measures — like giving detained immigrants bond hearings — Republicans believe momentum will stall even more if Obama caves to those who are falsely calling him the “deporter in chief” and enacts more unilateral measures to halt deportations or grant more temporary amnesty to various groups of illegal immigrants.
Amnesty opponents have thought Boehner’s endgame is to pass amnesty legislation this year ever since he hired Rebecca Tallent, who was Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) top amnesty aide, as his chief immigration adviser last year. Big-business interests and high-tech lobbying groups like Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg’s FWD.us group have indicated they are willing to pour in millions this spring to try to get amnesty legislation across the finish line.