At least one conservative organization attending a Tuesday afternoon meeting to discuss immigration reform with Sen. Marco Rubio is opposed to the "gang of eight" bill.
TheTeaParty.Net is a grass-roots organization on the guest list of about two dozen grass-roots conservative leaders invited to discuss the Senate immigration overhaul with the Florida Republican. The group released a statement ahead of the meeting making clear that it opposes the legislation in its current form.
In the statement, TheTeaParty.Net Chief Strategist Niger Innis makes clear that the group is open to hearing from Rubio out of respect for his conservative bona fides. But at this point, the group views the proposal as "more Schumer than Rubio" — a reference to Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., a member of the gang — because of the path to citizenship component, which the organization refers to as amnesty.
See TheTeaParty.Net's statement after the jump.
TheTeaParty.Net Pushes Back Against Claims It Is Supporting Gang of Eight Immigration Plan
WASHINGTON D.C. -- Commenting on reports that TheTeaParty.net is among the conservative groups supporting the Gang of Eight immigration bill, Niger Innis, Chief Strategist of the nation's largest tea party organization TheTeaParty.net, said:
"We were invited by Sen. Rubio's office to discuss the current legislation on immigration, and importantly, to offer our views on how we think it can be fixed. We are going to hear him out, rather than rely on the mainstream media interpretation of his legislation. Reports that we have agreed to support the Gang of Eight bill are utter make-believe."
"We have heard from the hundreds of thousands of activists and supporters affiliated with TheTeaParty.net. Overwhelmingly and resoundingly, they oppose this bill. We are there to tell Sen. Rubio what the conservative base is saying. And that is no to amnesty and yes to securing the border now. Unless this bill can be proven not to be another ill-fated attempt at amnesty and not a way of adding hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants to the already considerable burdens of the welfare state, we cannot and will not support the Gang of Eight bill. We believe that Sen. Rubio is an honorable man and is trying to do the right thing, but this bill is currently more Schumer than Rubio."