Tags: Exclusive Interviews | Immigration | MidPoint | FAIR | Mehlman | immigration | amnesty

FAIR's Mehlman: GOP Base Keeps Boehner Leashed on Amnesty

By Sean Piccoli   |   Monday, 04 Aug 2014 08:04 PM

The only thing standing between House Speaker John Boehner and sweeping amnesty for illegal immigrants is his party's base — Republican voters who oppose any such measure and are watching Boehner's actions closely, an immigration reform advocate told Newsmax TV on Monday.

"The speaker has tried every way possible to come up with some kind of backdoor way to get amnesty through," Ira Mehlman, media director of the Federation for Immigration Reform (FAIR), told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner.

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"The only thing that prevents him and the [House Republican] leadership from cutting a deal on amnesty is the idea that the American public is paying attention," said Mehlman, "and that they're not going to go along."

Mehlman said the emergency aid package approved by the House on Friday, after Boehner's first option was rejected by his caucus, is a recognition of that fact.

"What you saw last week was that the vast majority of the Republicans in the House did not want to go along with this sham that the leadership was trying to perpetrate," said Mehlman, adding, "At the last minute, the leadership finally had to pull it off the floor and replace it with a sensible bill."

The measure that passed would give President Barack Obama $694 million — far less than the $3.7 billion he requested — to address the crisis of Central Americans pouring across the U.S.-Mexico border. It would also let authorities deport more than 700,000 migrants who got temporary work permits under a 2012 presidential order.

The House's package "is going nowhere in the Senate, and obviously the president is never going to sign a bill like that," said Mehlman. "But at least it puts down a marker, and the ball's now in the Democrats' court in the Senate and in the president's court."

It passed just before Congress headed home for summer, and with Obama reportedly mulling another, more controversial executive order that would grant amnesty to millions of immigrants.

"On many occasions [the president] said he does not have authority to grant amnesty to millions of people who are in the country illegally . . . and yet that seems to be exactly what he is planning on doing," said Mehlman.

"It's going to be up to the Republicans in the House to determine what actions they can take," he said, adding, [W]e're getting into constitutionally murky waters, and nobody's been down this road before."

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