Washington, DC — Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, released the following statement on efforts by President Bush and Senator Majority Leader Bill Frist to hide their failure to convince Republicans to support comprehensive immigration reform.
“Last week, the Republican majority in the Senate had two chances to support comprehensive immigration reform. Both times they caved to the extreme right wing of their party and voted no. President Bush and Majority Leader Frist need to look in the mirror and find the courage and backbone to stand up to the radical right and give the American people the real security they deserve.”
REPUBLICANS TORPEDOED IMMIGRATION REFORM
REPUBLICANS IN THE HOUSE OPPOSE COMPREHENSIVE REFORM
Majority Leader Boehner Said He is Opposed to Comprehensive Reform. “‘You can’t begin to talk about a guest worker bill until you secure the borders,’ he said on ABC’s ‘This Week with George Stephanopoulos.’ Otherwise, he said, ‘We’re going to have an endless parade of illegal immigrants here in our country.’” [Reuters 4/9/06]
Representative Peter King Says the Senate Legislation Was the Result of Intimidation by Protesters. “The guest-worker proposal would create ‘an incentive for more illegal immigrants to come into the country,’ Republican Rep. Peter King, whose New York office will be a stop during tomorrow’s protest, said on “Fox News Sunday.” ‘The outcry in the country is about the large number of illegal immigrants, and what the Senate has done to get around that problem is to, in effect, make them legal.’ King said the Senate was ‘intimidated by having hundreds of thousands of people in the streets waving flags. But I don’t think we should pass legislation or devise legislation based on how many people you can get out into the street.’” [Pittsburgh Tribune Review, 4/10/06]
Rep. Tancredo Says Undocumented Immigrants Not Welcome or Essential to this Country. “‘For years, the government has turned a blind eye to illegal immigrants who break into this country,’ Mr. Tancredo said. ‘It isn’t any wonder that illegal aliens now act as if they are entitled to the rights and privileges of citizenship.’” [New York Times, 3/29/06]
Rep. Tom Tancredo Says House Would Reject Senate Legislation for Comprehensive Reform. “The Senate compromise would ‘offer blanket amnesty to at least 10 million illegal aliens,’ charged Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., leader of the House hard-liners. ‘By surrendering to the amnesty demands of Democrats and squishy Republicans, Frist squandered a great opportunity to secure our borders,’ Tancredo said. ‘The Senate amnesty deal is miserable public policy that will be rejected by the House.’” [Denver Post, 4/7/06]
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher: “I say let the prisoners pick the fruits.” [CBS/AP, 3/30/06]
Rep. Steve King: “Anybody that votes for an amnesty bill deserves to be branded with a scarlet letter A.” [CBS/AP, 3/30/06]
IN THE SENATE, REPUBLICAN OPPONENTS OF COMPREHENSIVE REFORM FILED AMENDMENTS TO UNDERMINE THE BILL
Among the amendments that were filed:
1. Senator Kyl: gut the portions of the bill authorizing temporary workers and providing a path to citizenship for the 11 million.
2. Senator Isakson: block comprehensive reforms from becoming effective until the Secretary of Homeland Security certifies that the border is secure.
3. Senator Vitter: authorize the “Minutemen” vigilante program on the Mexican
4. Senator Inhofe: make English the official language of the United States.
Senator Frist Expressed Disappointment with the Committee Bill before Supporting the Compromise Legislation. “I am a little disappointed in (the committee bill) because I think it is going to be characterized as amnesty in the sense that it adopted provisions late this afternoon that does not require people who have been here illegally to go back to their native countries before (they) apply for green cards before applying for citizenship,” Frist told FOX News.” [FOX, 3/28/06]
Then Frist Tells his Caucus to Oppose the Compromise. Frist encouraged his Republican colleagues to vote against the same compromise agreement he was touting the day before. [CQ Today, 4/7/06]
Now, Frist Won’t Commit to Bringing Immigrating Back to the Floor. After the immigration compromise fell through this morning, Frist “stopped short of a commitment to bring the issue back to the floor during the balance of the election-year session. ‘I intend to,’ he said, but added it would depend on the schedule of other bills.” [AP, 4/7/06]
Senator Kyl Says a Path to Citizenship is Unfair: “It is not necessary to provide that path to citizenship,” said Sen. Jon Kyl, an Arizona Republican. “Many people believe it is amnesty. I’m going to call it a different name. I’m going to call it unfair.” [Reuters, 3/29/06]