Schumer to GOP: Pass Immigration Reform or Remain Out of Power

Image: Schumer to GOP: Pass Immigration Reform or Remain Out of Power

Friday, 02 May 2014 09:37 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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Sen. Charles Schumer warned Republicans that they'll never have a chance of taking power from the Democrats if they don't pass a controversial immigration reform bill this year.

The New York Democrat's warning came as he slammed Iowa Rep. Steve King for "spewing hatred" against illegal immigrants and leading fellow Republicans "over the cliff" on the  issue, according to The Hill.

On the Senate floor Thursday, Schumer said the GOP has handed the "gavel of leadership on immigration" to King, and that if Republicans continues to follow the right-wing hard line, then Democrats will stay in power for at least another 10 years.

"Steve King — a far-right, way out of the mainstream outlier — doesn't just spew hatred, he calls the shots," Schumer said. "They're following Steve King over the cliff.

"Where are the people in the Republican Party with the courage to stand up to Steve King? If Republicans continue to kowtow to the hard right on immigration reform, they'll consign themselves to being the minority party for a decade."

And according to Politico, he added, "Immigration reform will pass this year with bipartisan support and a bipartisan imprint or it will pass in future years with only Democratic support and Democratic imprint because Democrats will control Congress and the White House."

The Senate's third-ranking Democrat noted that it's been 300 days since the Senate passed a comprehensive reform package last year, which he helped to write as a member of the so-called Gang of Eight.

"Every time any Republican raised the possibility of action on immigration reform in the House, Steve King is there, in his own words, 'manning the watchtowers 24/7' to make sure nothing can be passed to fix our broken immigration system. He's an extreme outlier on the issue of immigration reform."

Schumer also railed against King for his contentious comments that there are a horde of undocumented immigrants in the United States who are drug mules with "calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling marijuana across the desert."

The remarks have previously earned King a stern rebuke from Republican House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, according to Politico.

Schumer also took King to task for saying that illegal immigrants should be bused back to Tijuana, Mexico.

"My guess is that Republican stomachs churn when they see Steven King spew that kind of rhetoric," the Democrat added. "But rather than stand up to him, they give him the keys to the kingdom of immigration reform."

Republicans have said that they are unwilling to pass immigration reform because they cannot trust President Barack Obama to enforce the laws.

But Schumer has suggested that any new immigration bill should include a proviso that it will not go into effect until 2017 when Obama is out of office, Politico reported.

"If Republicans can't agree to pass a bill that goes into effect after the president's term, then we know that 'mistrust of the president' is nothing but a straw man," he said.

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