Cardenas to GOP: Failure to Act on Immigration is 'De Facto Amnesty'

Thursday, 11 Jul 2013 07:19 PM

By Tom Topousis

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A handful of House Republicans seeking to block immigration reform should instead work to fix the system or face a future of “de facto amnesty," said Al Cardenas, the former Florida Republican Party leader.

“If we turn our backs to the challenges ahead and just say “no,” in a few years we will not have 11 million, but 20 million illegal residents in our country — with billions more to be paid in benefits, billions of tax dollars lost to an underground economy and millions of jobs lost to global competitors, Cardenas wrote in a Washington Times op-ed Thursday.

“For the sake of our nation, let’s hope the “people’s chamber” is reflective, mature and transparent in its deliberations. There should be no argument that immigration reform is needed and that America is worse off today as a result of Congress not finding a solution five years ago,” writes Cardenas, first Hispanic to lead Florida’s GOP.

“At a minimum, let’s agree that we have de facto amnesty by executive fiat, thanks to President Obama. That is the status quo, so we’re not operating from a blank canvas. Still, some of my conservative colleagues are proposing a more politically expedient option to our House conservative membership: Kill the bill. Do nothing. What’s the rush? Is that what we conservatives want to be known as — the ‘no’ movement?” he writes.

Cardenas’ stern warning to Republicans comes as House leaders are scrambling to come up with their own version of immigration reform following the Senate’s passage last month of a bill, by a 68-32 vote, that would set up a path to citizenship for 11 million illegal aliens already in the U.S.

“There is a conservative solution to our broken immigration system. Find it, debate it and pass it in the House. To say ‘no’ would be a cop-out and an inference that the House majority is incapable of applying conservative principles to resolve challenges facing America. There are conservative answers to broken borders: border enforcement, verification of employment, legal immigration with labor prioritization and, yes, a solution to the status of 11 million illegal immigrants currently in this country,” writes Cardenas.

Cardenas says House Republicans are right not to simply accept the Senate bill, even though it had the backing of 14 Republicans. “There are also a lot of liberal, unnecessary ‘pork spending’ provisions in the Senate bill that just passed. All of that waste needs to be removed from the House version of immigration reform.”

And Cardenas said he supports House proposals to create “a more market-based legal immigration system rather than the limited, labor union-driven, restrictive quota system accepted by the Democrat-led Senate, to strengthen E-Verify provisions; and to confirm limitations on benefits to those granted legal status.”

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