Immigration Reform Foes Gear Up for New Battle in House

Wednesday, 30 Apr 2014 09:06 PM

By Cathy Burke

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House immigration foes haven't forgiven or forgotten Speaker John Boehner for mocking them as gutless whiners, and are stepping up efforts to block immigration reform legislation.

The lawmakers are scouring bills that may contain any loopholes that could allow legislation to sneak through, Politico reported Wednesday.

"We have to man the watchtowers 24/7," Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King told Politico.
Alabama Republican Rep. Mo Brooks told Politico a meeting would be held this week about the matter.

"It is difficult to plan a specific course of action when the leadership keeps tossing out vague ways to give amnesty to illegal aliens," Brooks told Politico, adding: "When we see a specific plan from the House leadership, then those of us who favor American citizens first will have a better idea of where the leadership is specifically going and how we will specifically respond."

Though the Senate passed comprehensive immigration reform last year, House conservatives who remain concerned about a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants are opposed to reform legislation – even threatening the House leaders' jobs if they take up the matter, Politico reported.

"That comment is unfair to the people who are very sincere about their concerns about people who came here illegally," North Carolina Republican Rep. Walter Jones said of Boehner's mocking criticism.

"There are a number of members — we'll find out over the next few months — who feel like we need a change of leadership. We need a new direction."

Jones is one of 12 members who voted against Boehner for speaker in January 2013.

Boehner has since walked back his criticism, calling it teasing.

Other immigration foes haven't been so hard on the speaker, Politico noted.

Louisiana Republican Rep. John Fleming said Boehner assured members during the private meeting Tuesday that GOP leaders had no "secret conspiracy" to pass immigration reform.

"I felt very good about his comments that he's not changed his position, where we need to be on this," Fleming told Politico."In fact, he sounds a little stauncher than he has before."

Others are not convinced.

"There is very little doubt the Republican leadership team wants to move on a broad-based immigration plan that includes amnesty," said Dan Holler, a spokesman for the conservative outside group Heritage Action for America.

"If they move before November though, they run the very real risk of demoralizing the very voters who are now highly motivated," Holler said.

King said he's sure House leaders will keep pushing immigration reform this year.

"When John Boehner said he was hell-bent" at a private fundraiser, "he wasn’t kidding," King said.

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