On Immigration, GOP Borders on Courage
By Tony Perkins
Paris may be a long way from D.C., but the impact of what happened there is hitting a lot closer to home. With terrorists opening a new chapter in their war against the West, France isn’t the only government under the microscope. Four thousand miles away in the U.S. House, conservatives are taking the opportunity to educate Americans to our own vulnerabilities under the White House’s immigration policy (or lack thereof). And Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) seems more than willing to lead that charge.
When conservatives fell a few votes short of replacing the Speaker last week, the media said the right wing of the party had lost. But as I said last week, the most constructive step that John Boehner could take in wake of the conservative challenge was to win people back — not by getting even, but getting to work rebuilding that lost trust. In conversations with members over the weekend, it seems the Ohio leader is willing to put the embarrassment behind him and move forward in a “message received” mentality.
And this week, the proof is in the pudding — Homeland Security’s pudding, to be exact — as Speaker Boehner takes an even stronger position on the President’s amnesty order than most people expected. “I said we would fight it tooth and nail when we had the majority,” the Speaker told reporters, “and I meant it.” Not only are the administration’s actions illegal — but, as France’s tragedy made painfully clear, they’re dangerous. America’s gates have been flung wide open under this President, who seems to think that flooding the country with illegals — and refusing to deport others — is sound policy. That ends now, say members of the House, who object to the White House’s decision to let as many as 5,000,000 illegal immigrants stay in the U.S. without following the rules. And unfortunately, it’s not just the executive order that’s creating loopholes big enough to fly a hijacked plane through. The Obama administration has made a string of bad decisions that favor undocumented immigrants, going back to the President’s early days. Those policies are fair game, vow Republicans, who intend to reach back into Obama’s first term and address some of those measures in the Homeland Security bill.
As Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) explained, the GOP is ready to “to get to the roots of the (executive action) so we’re not just trying to just nullify one thing that was done back in November but also try to address it for the future.” That means closing the purse strings to any of the White House’s actions as part of the $39.7 billion budget. “The issue isn’t about funding the Department of Homeland Security,” Boehner clarified. “Members of Congress support funding the department, but we cannot continue to allow the President to go around the Congress, to go around the law and take unilateral action.”
Although some leaders are antsy about what the Senate would do if the House takes a hard line on immigration, conservatives like Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) say they can’t worry about what the Senate will do. “One of the things that has really been lacking for the last eight years is having more input like we’ve finally gotten in this bill,” he told reporters. Instead of worrying about what the Senate wants, Republicans are finally focused on what voters want. And party politics aside, that’s the majority that matters most.
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.
(Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)
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