Tags: immigration | cruz | splinter | Republicans

Cruz: House GOP Immigration Plan Amounts to 'Amnesty'

Image: Cruz: House GOP Immigration Plan Amounts to 'Amnesty'

By Melissa Clyne   |   Friday, 31 Jan 2014 08:23 AM

Tackling immigration reform before the midterm elections in November will splinter the GOP and fumble the party’s opportunity to regain the Senate, predicts Sen. Ted Cruz.

Granting legal status to illegal immigrants, as Republican House leaders recommended Thursday, is tantamount to amnesty, according to Cruz.

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"Amnesty is wrong in any circumstance, and if we are going to fix our broken immigration system — and we should — it makes much more sense to do so next year, so that we are negotiating a responsible solution with a Republican Senate majority," the Texas Republican and tea party favorite told Breitbart.

“Anyone pushing an amnesty bill right now should go ahead and put a 'Harry Reid for Majority Leader' bumper sticker on their car, because that will be the likely effect if Republicans refuse to listen to the American people and foolishly change the subject from Obamacare to amnesty.”

House Republicans this week called for a renewed push to create a path to legal status for illegal aliens, a prickly issue within the party.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan maintains that the GOP plan, contained in a set of guiding principles released by the leadership, is not “an automatic pathway to citizenship,” but would allow immigrants to obtain work permits and green cards if border security and other benchmarks are met, The Hill reports.

The House leadership approach to immigration reform also calls for a new guest-worker program, and increase in high-skilled work visas and a pathway to citizenship for children brought into the U.S. illegally, The Hill noted.

Cruz and other GOP conservatives believe that any immigration overhaul should focus first strengthening border security to ebb the flow of illegal immigrants before even considering ways to grant legal or citizenship status to the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the United States.

Republicans are united in their opposition to Obamacare and are hoping to capitalize on the program’s failures in November’s midterm elections. But if immigration reform overshadows it, key conservative groups opposed to the healthcare law say it could kill GOP chances of retaking the Senate and adding seats in the House.

“There’s absolutely no doubt that an immigration push is going to divide the Republican Party and take the focus off Obamacare,” Heritage Action spokesman Dan Holler told Bloomberg Businessweek, which reported earlier this week that Cruz was meeting with House tea party Republicans.

“I very much hope the House of Representatives does not go down that road, and I don’t believe they will,” he said. “It’s certainly something the American people don’t want to see Congress do.”

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