Immigration reform will be passed because it is vital to the U.S. economy and for American security, Grover Norquist tells Newsmax TV.
"It will continue to make us the most prosperous and powerful nation in the world, he said, explaining that strong immigration distinguishes the United States from Japan, China, or European countries that are getting older and shrinking in population.
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The current immigration system is so broken that everyone understands reform is needed to improve it, said Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.
Still, he sees Sen. John Cornyn's amendment to require border security before any illegal immigrant can be put on a path to citizenship as a step in the right direction. Congress needs to vote on the issue down the road or there must be specific expectations written down, he said.
Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., has called Cornyn's ammendment a "poison pill
," and said he will require a 60-vote majority to pass it.
Republicans have a challenge ensuring that legalizing 11 million illegal immigrants don't just become a giant new bloc of Democratic voters. The GOP must speak to people of all backgrounds to let them know they are valued members of the American family, Norquist said.
"Our request, our insistence is that you be loyal to the Constitution," he said. "That’s what makes you an American, not what country your grandfather was born in."
Norquist predicted passage in both houses of Congress because he said it has been discussed in the open, unlike Obamacare or the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform act.
"That’s why it will pass," Norquist said. "People will have confidence that they know what’s in it."
He was less generous on the issue of government snooping.
"It really does make you wonder how much information the government is gathering on us," Norquist said. "What bothers Americans is not that their government is monitoring certain activities, which might be vital for national security, but the fear of what it might be used for. "
"You cannot have the government say, 'Trust us, we’re not listening to your phone calls, we’re not reading your emails,' when we know that the IRS has been thoroughly politicized and has been used as a weapon against Obama’s – or what Obama thinks of as his political enemies in the United States."
News that a House committee is looking into allegations the IRS seized 60 million medical records during an investigation is just the tip of the iceberg of the allegations Norquist expects to come to light over the summer. And stonewalling isn't going to keep working, he said.
"They obviously have something very big to hide because this is damaging to the president’s credibility, to his sense of his capacity to run the government," Norquist said, "and therefore what they’re hiding must be so bad that it is worse than the damage that he’s done to his credibility by stonewalling."
The scandal of IRS agents targeting conservatives could give momentum to tax reform efforts, Norquist said.
"The tax code is difficult to understand," he said. "It’s long, it’s confusing." A simpler tax code would force bureaucrats to apply the rules more uniformly, he said.
"And this probably kills one of Obama’s worst ideas, and that was the government would suck up all your information and do your taxes for you because they’d know everything about you because you wouldn’t have any privacy. And then they’d say, 'Hey, why don’t we make your life simpler by writing out your income tax return for you?'
That plan has been tried in other countries, and didn't work, Norquist said, because the government has a vested interested in maximizing the amount of money its citizens pay.
"The idea of having the government do your taxes for you is dead, dead, dead," he said.
Norquist said Obama's approach to the economy has prevented more jobs from being created.
"If this was Reagan’s recovery there’d be more than 6.8 million more Americans at work because Obama followed a left-wing, big government approach rather than Reagan’s limited spending and tax reform proposals," he said. "That’s very expensive to the American people."
But Norquist sees no need for a budget deal. The limits imposed by the sequester are keeping spending at appropriate levels, he said.
"If Obama wants to reform entitlements as well, that would be nice," Norquist said, though he doesn't see that happening. "He spent five years in the White House not reforming entitlements, not reforming welfare, not reforming taxes. At some point you have to ask yourself, why do you believe Obama has some secret desire to reform taxes and reform entitlements?"
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