Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert says House Speaker John Boehner is very anxious to get an immigration reform bill done this year, but Gohmert says there’s no reason to believe President Obama will enforce new border security provisions when he’s ignoring the existing ones and he contends that extending any sort of amnesty will be economically crippling to the U.S. and politically lethal to the Republican Party.
Boehner is study in contrasts on the immigration issue. Early this year, he introduced the House leadership’s principles for reform only to announce days later that the bill was on hold because Republicans simply don’t trust President Obama to enforce provisions he doesn’t like.
Two weeks ago in Ohio, Boehner mocked House Republicans who oppose reform, saying they don’t want to take a difficult vote. Now, Boehner says he was teasing and reiterated GOP distrust of Obama.
“The Speaker has made clear he wants an immigration reform bill done. He wants it done quickly. He wanted it done a year ago. But what he doesn’t seem to understand, or didn’t for most of the last year, is the problem is the border not being secured,” said Gohmert.
“I’ve never said we need to seal the border because I don’t want to do that, but we do need to be able to control who comes in and make sure they’re coming legally. Until that happens as confirmed by the border states, not Homeland Security (since) we’ve found we can’t trust them, until that happens we should not be talking about legal status, amnesty or any of those words. (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents say every time we just talk about it lures more people through the deserts, more people become susceptible to human trafficking and sex trafficking,” said Gohmert.
“It’s time to stop talking about amnesty legal status. Force the president to comply with and enforce the law as it’s written, not s he would speak it to be. Once that’s done, we should and will get an immigration reform bill done very quickly,” said Gohmert.
Supporters of the Senate’s Gang of Eight immigration bill and backers of the emerging legislation in the House insist border security is among their top concerns and that their bills are jammed full of stringent border security measures designed to prevent this crisis from developing again. Gohmert says none of that matter.
“The law is already there. If this president will not follow the law and enforce the law as it is, then what good does it do to make the law tougher in some future bill when he’s already ignoring this one. I think it’s so critical that we get the president to follow the law now. Then if he actually needs help in getting the border secured, we’ll give him that help. Until it is secured, it should not be part of some bigger bill and used as a trigger. We already have the trigger. It’s called the law as it is right now,” he said.
Gohmert also expanded on his assertion that renewed chatter of immigration reform leads to much more illegal immigration and reduced economic opportunity for Americans.
“Every time we talk about it, including this latest push towards some kind of amnesty bill, it increases dramatically the numbers of people coming across the southern border illegally. It really puts more people at risk,” said Gohmert.
“That comes on the heels of this horrendous employment report that although there may have been a couple hundred thousand jobs created, they’re underpaying and it doesn’t address the 800,000 Americans that gave up hope and quit looking for employment. How in the world is bringing in more people right now going to help the millions that are either underemployed, out of work or trying to get a better job,” said Gohmert.
The Republican National Committee has been very clear that comprehensive immigration reform is it’s number one policy goal in this Congress. Following the 2012 elections, the RNC concluded passing immigration legislation is key to opening the door to Latino voters on a host of other issues that those voters would naturally embrace.
Gohmert agrees it is vital to make the GOP attractive to the nation’s fastest growing demographic, but he says the party is going about it all wrong.
“It’ll take more than pandering to convince people that we’re the proper party. In fact, it will make people more cynical. I want more Hispanics in (the GOP). I like any culture that generally has a faith in God, devotion to family and a hard work ethic, but it has to be done legally. Just pandering has never convinced anybody to go with a party,” said Gohmert.
“Democrats have handed out so much in the way of benefits to buy people’s votes, it’ll take more than one act to persuade them that we are the people who believe like they do, that believe in hard work, that believe in opportunity and want them to be presidents of companies and the country and things like that,” he said.
“But we’re not going to do it with one bill, pandering. We cannot outpander the Democrats,” said Gohmert.