Conservative Media Urge GOP To “Do Nothing” On Immigration Reform

Following an announcement that House Republican leaders will unveil a set of “principles” for guiding debate on immigration reform, conservative media urged Republicans to reject these and any attempts to pass immigration reform legislation this year. This is the latest in a series of conservative media attacks against the immigration reform effort that began in 2013.

House Republicans Announce Immigration Framework With Path To Legal Status

NY Times: House Republican Framework For Immigration Reform Includes Path To Legal Status For Undocumented Immigrants. As The New York Times noted, House Republican leaders are scheduled to unveil a “statement of principles” for immigration reform that purported includes a “path to legal status -- but not citizenship -- for many of the 11 million adult immigrants who are in the country illegally”:

The House Republican leadership's broad framework for overhauling the nation's immigration laws will call this week for a path to legal status -- but not citizenship -- for many of the 11 million adult immigrants who are in the country illegally, according to aides who have seen the party's statement of principles. For immigrants brought to the United States illegally as young children, the Republicans would offer a path to citizenship.


The statement of principles criticizes the American higher education system for educating some of the world's best and brightest students only to lose them to their home countries because they cannot obtain green cards; insists that Republicans demand that current immigration laws be enforced before illegal immigrants are granted legal status; and mentions that some kind of triggers must be included in an immigration overhaul to ensure that borders are secured first, said Republican officials who have seen the principles. [The New York Times, 1/28/14]

Conservative Media Rebuke GOP Effort And Renew Calls For Obstruction

Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol Suggested Holding Immigration Reform Hostage To Debt Ceiling. Weekly Standard editor William Kristol said that immigration reform could only hurt GOP electoral chances in 2014 and that the only way to avoid an “explosive debate” on immigration reform “is not to let anything onto the floor in the first place”:

In return for making life easier on the debt ceiling for the House leadership, Speaker [John] Boehner should make his own concession: He should announce that he will not bring any immigration legislation to the floor this session. If there's one thing that could blow up GOP chances for a good 2014, it would be an explosive debate over immigration in the House. The only sure way to avoid such a debate is not to let anything onto the floor in the first place.


Bringing immigration to the floor insures a circular GOP firing squad, instead of a nicely lined-up one shooting together and in unison at Obamacare and other horrors of big government liberalism. Since there really is no need to act this year on immigration, don't. Don't even try. [The Weekly Standard, 2/3/14]

National Review: “Do Nothing.” In an editorial criticizing House Republicans for their push on immigration reform, National Review urged leaders to “do nothing” on immigration, stating that “the last thing the party needs is a brutal intramural fight when it has been dealt a winning hand on Obamacare”:

The House Republican leadership has been confronted by devilishly difficult tactical choices over the years. But what to do on the issue of immigration right now isn't one of them. The correct course is easy and eminently achievable: Do nothing.

The old Reagan catchphrase calling for non-action -- don't just do something, stand there -- has never been more apt. Yet the House leadership is about to roll out a set of immigration principles reportedly including an amnesty for illegal aliens, and presumably will follow up with a push to pass them through the House. This is legislative strategy as unforced error.

The basic tactical reason not to act now is that the last thing the party needs is a brutal intramural fight when it has been dealt a winning hand on Obamacare. It is not as though the public is clamoring for an immigration bill. Only 3 percent cited immigration as the biggest problem facing the country in a Gallup poll earlier this month. In the key contests that will decide partisan control of the Senate, Republican candidates are much more likely to be helped than hurt by refusing to sign onto any form of amnesty. [National Review Online, 1/27/14]

Daily Caller's Mickey Kaus To Immigration Reform Opponents: “If You Care, Get Your Dialing Finger Ready.” In his January 20 Daily Caller column, Mickey Kaus characterized the Republican push for immigration as a “sellout,” claiming that in advocating for reform, politicians are “abandoning the economic interests of the country's basic laborers, and the strong anti-amnesty convictions of their own constituents (in the case of most Republicans), and doing it at such an objectively inauspicious time.” He claimed that passing reform would “give less skilled Americans millions of new competitors, inevitably bidding down wages at the bottom,” and urged readers to contact their representatives: “If you care, get your dialing finger ready.” [Daily Caller, 1/20/14]

Conservative Media Have Repeatedly Urged GOP To Obstruct Immigration Reform

Laura Ingraham Advised Speaker John Boehner To Step Away From Immigration Reform “Trap.” On the July 4 broadcast of her radio show, Ingraham likened immigration reform to a “trap” and stated that she was pressuring Boehner to make sure that he ultimately “walk[ed] away from this trap set” by congressional Democrats and other immigration reform supporters. [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show, 7/10/13]

Kristol, Rich Lowry Called On GOP To “Kill The Bill.” In a series of editorials, The Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol and The National Review's Rich Lowry called on House Republicans to obstruct comprehensive immigration reform efforts by not passing any immigration reform bills out of the chamber. Kristol and Lowry argued that not passing legislation in the House would prevent Senate and House representatives from meeting to reconcile the differences between the Senate's bill and any bill that would pass the House. [The Weekly Standard, 7/8/13, via Media Matters]

Kaus Advised Republicans On How To Filibuster Immigration Reform. In his Daily Caller column, Kaus advocated for Republicans to filibuster immigration reform efforts, claiming that following his advice would prove that "[a]mnesty as we know it can go away." Kaus also headlined a tea party event to stoke fears of how comprehensive immigration reform “would change America irrevocably, and for the worse.” [The Daily Caller, 9/4/13, via Media Matters]

Ann Coulter: If The House Were To Conference With Senate On Immigration Bill, “The Country Is Over.” On Fox News, conservative pundit Ann Coulter warned that “if the House passes anything concerning immigration” and conference with representatives from the Senate, the resultant bill “will come out an amnesty bill.” She claimed that if a reconciled bill passed, “the country is over.” [Fox News, Hannity, 6/12/13]

Rush Limbaugh: “Saying No” On Immigration Reform “Would Be Pretty, Pretty Wise.” On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh urged House Republicans to refuse to act on immigration reform, saying: “Why can't we just say no? You guys don't get everything you want. Well, we can't be the party of no. Why not? They already say we're the party of no. What's wrong with saying no in this case? Saying no in this case would be pretty, pretty wise.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 7/9/13]