Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX-21) said the immigration-reform principles floated by a bipartisan group of senators would reward lawbreakers, increase unemployment and push enormous new costs onto U.S. taxpayers.
"When you legalize those who are in the country illegally, it costs taxpayers millions of dollars, costs American workers thousands of jobs and encourages more illegal immigration," Smith said in a brief statement. "By granting amnesty, the Senate proposal actually compounds the problem by encouraging more illegal immigration.”
Other than that, the Gang of Eight immigration plan is a great idea.
Smith, Chairman of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, is a former Chairman of the Judiciary Committee and the House Ethics Committee and currently serves on the Judiciary and Homeland Security Committee, and clearly gets it.
As The Hill noted, although the Senate immigration principles have been endorsed by a number of influential Republicans — including Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) and Marco Rubio (Fla.) — Smith's remarks are a warning that opposition to such a move is still alive and well, particularly in the Republican-led House.
Smith, the former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee who now sits on the panel's Immigration subcommittee, did not spare his Republican colleagues in attacking the Senate blueprint. “No one should be surprised that individuals who have supported amnesty in the past still support amnesty," he said.
The “Gang of Eight” bill purports to be a comprehensive proposal featuring efforts to strengthen border security, bolster a guest-worker program and create a path to citizenship for the roughly 12 million illegal immigrants estimated to be living the in the United States.
However, whatever claims the Gang of Eight may make about their plan, the reality is the current immigration reform debate has wandered very far afield from harmonizing and updating our immigration policies, increasing border security or even liberal claims that we need a more “humanitarian” policy to allow blended families of legal and illegal immigrants to stay together. It is now all about raw politics, and as usual, establishment Republicans are getting it all wrong.
Establishment Republicans are hoping to repair their image with Hispanic voters ahead of the 2014 election by tossing aside the principles of the rule of law and the sacred trust U.S. citizenship bestows in favor of a crude form of public bribery that would trade citizenship for the ephemeral opportunity to obtain a few more Hispanic votes.
The folly of this will be clear when every Hispanic vote establishment Republicans pick-up is offset by the loss of two or three votes from voters who believe in the rule of law and finally throw up their hands in frustration and either stay home or bolt for a political movement that actually has some principles and will stick to them.