Update: According to Talking Points Memo, a group of hardline conservative Tea Party House members have written a letter to Rand Paul saying that they support his efforts to negotiate an immigration bill.
“We write to offer you support, encouragement, and assistance as we work together to identify the principles that must guide our nation’s thinking on immigration reform,” the letter reads. It’s co-signed by Reps. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), Justin Amash (R-MI), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Trey Radel (R-FL), and Mark Meadows (R-NC).
Yes, you read that title correctly.
Big news this week involved Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), a Tea Party favorite and winner of last weekend’s CPAC straw poll, and his support of immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship. Apparently, his support of the issue is pushing other right-wing conservatives toward immigration, as well, as we saw yesterday with this article about NumbersUSA Republicans saying friendly things about immigration reform. Today, several Tea Partiers, still applauding Paul for his recent 13-hour filibuster against John Brennan, reiterated their support for him—and immigration reform.
Here’s Sal Russo, founder of the Tea Party Express, praising Paul’s “willingness to stand up and take a principled stand” on immigration to ABC News:
I think the immigration issue is an important issue and Republicans have looked like they have their head in the sand and are not being serious about addressing a problem. People are in this country a long time and they are not legal. We have to get them legal in some way in a process that gets people legal that are here…We should do it because it’s the right thing. We need to reform immigration because we need a system that works.
Matt Kibbe of FreedomWorks and Jenny Beth Martin of the Tea Party Patriots mentioned that immigration was not particularly in their wheelhouse, but Kibbe did call Paul’s ideas on immigration within the “framework of our principals.” Both praised Paul in general and as a key Tea Party leader.
With mainstream Republicans, talk show hosts, pundits, the RNC, and now Tea Partiers all willing to support immigration reform, it’s no wonder that—as we wrote this morning—die-hard anti-immigrant lobbyists like Mark Krikorian are feeling pretty lonely these days. Steve King might be convinced that the anti-immigrant cavalry is going to show up any minute now, but until then, it’s clear where the movement and the momentum really lie—with supporters of immigration reform. Though here’s a small consolation prize for them: Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, Chuck Grassley, and a few others–are apparently still doing their best to wave the anti-immigrant flag at every opportunity.