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Conservative House Members: Pass Immigration Reform This Year

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In the wake of the House GOP’s release of their immigration reform principles yesterday, opponents of immigration reform have been arguing for Republicans to scrap immigration reform altogether this year, and instead pass it in 2015 or 2017 or when Obama’s out of office — basically, just not now.  Once again,  some Republicans are making excuses and stalling rather than taking action on immigration reform legislation that the majority of Americans support.  But there is also a contingent of Republican House members, leaders, and commentators pushing back on the “wait and see” caucus, from a conservative point of view — for example, Matt Lewis at Daily Caller.

Below are some of the statements against waiting from key House Republicans:

Steve Scalise, chair of the Republican Study Committee:

Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, chairman of the Republican Study Committee, said the immigration issue wouldn’t take Party members away from their number one priority—complaining about Obamacare.

“There’s nothing else that’s going to happen up here in Washington that’s going to overshadow the very negative things that are happening to people personally because of Obamacare,” Scalise said. (Business Week, 1/31/14)

Rep. Greg Walden, head of the NRCC:

Rep. Greg Walden, the chairman of the House GOP election efforts, said an immigration vote could happen in the summer of 2014.   “The point would be most of the primaries would’ve faded by then anyway. By the time you get to June, most of them are behind you.” (Daily Beast, 1/31/14)

Marlin Stutzman, Indiana Tea Party conservative:

Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind., pushed back on the idea that Republicans should avoid immigration because of primary fights.

“I’m not afraid to deal with anything at any time,” he said, “If we focus on the right policy, the politics will take care of itself.” (USA Today, 1/31/14)

These are conservative Republican members who, on the record, favor of tackling reform this year.  And, of course there’s the kicker – actually getting this issue off the table before 2016 gives the GOP candidate a far better chance of courting and attracting Latino voters.  The Senate has passed a bill, which will expire at the end of this year.  President Obama is willing to work with Republicans, as are key House Members like Rep. Luis Gutierrez and Rep. Zoe Lofgren.  The last remaining holdouts are the House Republicans. They need to strike while the iron is hot, or risk getting burned in 2016 and beyond.