Throwing In The Towel

09.20.13

House Republicans Give Up On Immigration Reform

Two of the three Republicans still involved in a bipartisan effort to pass immigration reform in the House threw in the towel on Friday. Patricia Murphy reports.

Dealing a potentially fatal blow to the hopes of passing immigration reform this Congress, two of three Republicans left in the House immigration working group bolted the bipartisan coalition Friday.  Rep John Carter (R-TX) and Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) blamed Obamacare for leading them to conclude the President cannot be trusted to enforce the laws Congress passes.

"Instead of doing what’s right for America, President Obama time and again has unilaterally disregarded the U.S. Constitution, the letter of the law and bypassed the Congress— the body most representative of the people—in order to advance his political agenda," the two Texas Republicans said in a statement.  "We will not tolerate it."

Carter and Johnson had been working with the the "Group of Seven" for more than three years and continued on with the bipartisan coalition even after Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) left the group this summer. While several Republicans had offered narrow bills on border enforcement, the Group of Seven was the only bipartisan effort in the House which sought to pass a broader measure.

But, an hour after the House voted to defund Obamacare Friday, the two congressmen blamed the bill for torpedoing a comprehensive approach to immigration reform as well, saying they don't believe the Obama administration will ever deliver on tougher border enforcement measures in a comprehensive bill, even if Congress passes it and the president signs it into law.

“The Obama administration has changed, waived or delayed key provisions with a single stroke of a pen," Carter and Johnson said. "The bottom line is—the American people do not trust the President to enforce laws, and we don’t either."

A senior Democratic staffer told the Daily Beast that the working group would continue to work toward a comprehensive bill, even without Carter and Johnson.  "Our work continues," the aide said. The one remaining Republican in the group is Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fl) who represents a heavily Cuban district in South Florda.