Pro-amnesty Republicans received a boost Sunday when Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., published an op-ed announcing her support for the Schumer-Rubio immigration bill that the Senate will begin debating Tuesday. “I ran for the Senate to make tough, independent decisions to strengthen our country, and that’s what it will take to solve our nation’s immigration problems,” Ayotte wrote.
Ayotte is the first Republican to confirm she will vote for the bill outside of the four Republican members of the Gang of Eight who worked with Democrats to write the legislation. Others, like Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, have said they could vote for the bill, but only if their specific worries about the bill are properly addressed.
An emerging strategy
The Washington Examiner’s Byron York reports that some conservatives believe these amendments can be strung together into a strategy that exposes the false promises of the Schumer-Rubio bill. For example, Cornyn will soon unveil an amendment that would require comptroller general certification that the U.S. Border Patrol was apprehending 90 percent of all attempted border crossings before any illegal immigrant could become citizens. This matches promises by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., that the border will be secure before any green cards are granted.
But the Democrats have made it clear they can only support a guaranteed path to citizenship that is not dependent on other events. “The problem you’ll have if you try to enhance border security in an unachievable way and tie it to the path to citizenship, I think the deal falls apart,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told the Washington Post recently.
A series of amendments
By itself, the Cornyn amendment could be a dangerous distraction for opponents of the bill. By letting it become the focus of debate, the amendment would suck up all the oxygen, minimizing the many other problems in the bill, and paving the way for a last minute deal on the one issue. But York says conservatives are now planning a series of amendments that would highlight other false promises Gang of Eight supporters have made about the legislation.
For example, Ayotte has said the bill requires illegal immigrants to learn English before they receive a green card. But this is false — the bill has a loophole that allows illegal immigrants to get a green card if they show they are “satisfactorily pursuing a course of study” of English. One amendment might close this loophole. Another might address Hatch’s stated concern that the current bill does not require illegal immigrants to pay back taxes, even though Gang of Eight members have previously said it did.
Conservatives have little chance of stopping amnesty in the Senate. Since New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has long been pro-amnesty, it is safe to assume that the man he chose to replace the deceased Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., will also be an easy “yes” vote for Schumer-Rubio. Throw in Ayotte and the four Republican members of the Gang of Eight, and Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has the 60 votes he needs to pass amnesty right there.
But by exposing all of the Gang of Eight’s security and fairness provisions as complete frauds, conservatives can make passage harder in the House.
From The Washington Examiner
Examiner Editorial: Four senators prove bipartisanship in Congress is not dead
Byron York: On immigration, an opposition strategy emerges: Hold Gang to its own words
Michael Barone: Government regs hurt passenger rail
Joel Gehrke: Rand Paul plans to haul NSA program into the Supreme Court
Tim Carney: Even law-abiding people should oppose surveillance
Conn Carroll: Tax hikes, not spending cuts, are slowing the recovery
Hugh Hewitt: What part of “no fence, no deal” does the Senate GOP not get?
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