A Key Voice on Immigration Reform Says No to Amnesty-First Approach

Kelsey Harris /

Newscom/Olivier Douliery/ABACAUSA.com

Newscom/Olivier Douliery/ABACAUSA.com

The Gang of Eight’s amnesty bill passed the Senate by a 68-32 vote, but House Republicans have already declared the nearly 1,200-page bill dead upon arrival.

Advocates for the bill say House members will face pressure to follow the Senate’s lead. But conservatives appear ready to stand firm against an amnesty-first approach to immigration reform.

Even before senators cast their votes, House conservatives were pushing Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to adhere to the “Hastert rule,” meaning any legislation that comes to the floor must have the support of a majority of Republicans.

Representative Raúl Labrador (R-ID), who worked on bipartisan immigration legislation, confirmed that House conservatives do not support the amnesty-first Senate bill.

Labrador said he doesn’t like the Senate bill because it just “promises” border enforcement in exchange for an immediate amnesty, an example of what he calls the “Lucy and Charlie Brown syndrome.”

“When you negotiate with Democrats in Washington, DC, and you think you have an agreement, at the last minute they’re always willing to move the goalpost,” Labrador said.

The so-called “border security” amendment offered by Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Bob Corker (R-TN) and John Hoeven (R-ND) legalizes immigrants before fully securing the border, an order Labrador said he has a problem with.

“We need to make sure we protect our borders, we protect the interior,” Labrador said. “We do all those things and then we can talk about what we do with the 11 million [illegal immigrants].”

Labrador is working with the House Judiciary Committee to draft a series of immigration measures. He said the House should remain focused on truly fixing America’s broken immigration system — and that starts with real border security measures, not amnesty.