As the 112th Congress approaches, immigration-reform groups are wondering how long of a leash Speaker-designate John Boehner will give Rep. Steve King (above), an outspoken critic of liberalized immigration laws.
Ahead of the cloture vote on the DREAM Act, King said in a statement that “subverting the rule of law by rewarding millions of illegal aliens for their presence in the country is an act of spite aimed at America’s voters.”
“The passage of the DREAM Act amnesty bill in the House of Representatives is an illegitimate act of a repudiated and rejected lame duck Congress,” added King, the top Republican on the Judiciary panel’s immigration subcommittee.
America’s Voice Deputy Director Lynn Tramonte said she’s looking for clues early in the new session as to whether the incoming House leadership is keeping Smith and King quiet.
“Now that Lamar Smith and Steve King are in charge of immigration policy for the House and they just spent the better part of the House debate on [the DREAM Act] calling these people criminals and gangbangers, we don’t expect a lot out of them,” Tramonte said. “But we do expect party leadership to at some point realize that they’re practicing political suicide by opposing comprehensive immigration reform.”
Tramonte also said her group expects to remind President Barack Obama of his 2008 campaign promises to overhaul the immigration system. But the White House won’t be the only one receiving house calls.
“He made a promise to Latino voters that he would engage comprehensive immigration reform during his first year in office; he can’t go back to that same group of voters and say, ‘Sorry I didn’t try,’” Tramonte said. “He’s going to have to do something [and] the fault line will be how Republicans respond. Will there be any Republicans in Congress who stand up to the nativists and say, ‘Shut up, guys, we need to get on the right side of history?’”
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.