A Hispanic Republican congressman, Raul Labrador, thinks that if the immigration bill isn’t crafted carefully, it will cost the GOP its base and could lead to the end of the party.
Labrador is a strong proponent of securing the borders, and told Meet the Press that failing to include strong border-enforcement provisions in any immigration reform bill would lead to more illegals coming into the country, which would be a lose-lose situation:
If we do it right I think it’s going to be good for us,” Labrador said on Meet the Press. “But if we don’t do it right what’s going to happen is we’re going to lose our base because we’re still going to have a large number of illegal immigrants coming into the United States, and the Hispanic community is not going to listen to us because they’re going to always listen at this point to the people that are offering more, that are offering a faster pathway to citizenship.
“I think we lose on both grounds if we don’t do it right,” Labrador said.
The Tea Party favorite and former immigration attorney has been a leading advocate for reform, but in early June left a bipartisan House group working on the issue after he said they failed to reach a consensus on how to keep illegal immigrants from receiving government benefits.
Labrador has also been a sharp critic of the Senate passed immigration bill, saying it doesn’t do enough to secure the border and fails to offer enough visas for high-skilled workers to enter the U.S.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said the Senate bill is dead on arrival, waiting instead for a House measure on immigration reform. Boehner though has cautioned that he will not move a bill that lacks the support of a majority of the GOP conference.
Are there 121 Republicans who want to bring immigration reform to the floor? Certainly not to vote on the Senate bill, which contains the poison pill of a path to citizenship. But there appears to be enough Republicans who want to vote on visa reform and a guest worker bill. Both bills will pass by a wide margin, as will legislation that would help secure the border. The question is, will the Senate Democrats deal in a conference committee?
It doesn’t look like it. President Obama made so many promises to Hispanics that anything short of a path to citizenship in a final bill would hurt the Democrats with that ethnic group. So it is likely that Senate Democrats will accept all or nothing and may end up with no immigration reform at all.