House conservatives block modest GOP immigration proposal
April 4th, 2014
04:09 PM ET
8 months ago

House conservatives block modest GOP immigration proposal

(CNN) - House conservatives on Friday blocked a narrow immigration reform measure, showing how hard it is an election year for the GOP-led chamber to make even small changes to the nation's immigration laws.

And this proposal was from a fellow Republican.

Rep. Jeff Denham of California pushed to add his proposal that would allow young people brought into the country illegally to join the military and gain legal status to annual defense legislation.

But conservatives revolted, arguing the measure amounted to "amnesty." They warned leaders its inclusion would jeopardize passage of the defense measure.

Although he is a co-sponsor of Denham's bill, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon, a California Republican, said in a written statement that he would not include the proposal as part of the defense legislation he will unveil next month.

Pressed if he decided conservative opposition on the immigration issue would have defeated the defense bill, McKeon waved off the questions.

"I'm not going to talk any more about this right now," he said.

Denham, who served in the U.S. Air Force with immigrants in the first Iraq war, lashed out at those in his own party who were aggressively working against his bill.

"I'm very frustrated to hear controversy from members who have never served their country and don't understand the impact that immigrants have had on our freedoms," Denham said.

This is the second time the California Republican has tried to tack his bill, called the "Enlist Act," onto the must-pass defense measure only to be blocked by fellow GOP members.

The legislation would allow those who were brought illegally to the United States when they were 15 or younger to enlist in the military and gain legal status.

That status would be rescinded if the person left military service unless it was an honorable discharge.

Alabama Republican Mo Brooks argued the bill would hurt U.S. citizens.

"I don't think it's in Americans best interests from an economic standpoint to dramatically increase the job opportunities for illegal aliens who are competing against American citizens for those jobs," Brooks said.

Asked about Denham's criticism of those working against the bill, Brooks replied "that's bunk."

Denham is one of only three House Republicans who co-sponsored the comprehensive immigration reform bills introduced by House Democrats. His central California district includes major agricultural businesses and 40% of its population is Hispanic.

The Democratic campaign committee has put his district on its top tier target list and highlights the lack of any GOP action on immigration as the main reason why he should be replaced.

House Speaker John Boehner unveiled a set of immigration reform principles earlier this year that would have allowed legal status for those undocumented workers in the United States now.

But a majority of House GOP members said they did not want a debate on the controversial issue before the midterms and Boehner has since pulled back.

Boehner argued it was unlikely any immigration measure would pass because GOP members didn't trust President Barack Obama.

Denham vowed he would continue to push for the bill as an amendment to the defense bill or as a standalone measure.


Filed under: House Republicans • Immigration
soundoff (90 Responses)
  1. yolanda

    If a person wants to serve in our military as a step toward gaining legal status and eventual citizenship, I say absolutely yes.
    Sheer stupidity to block this.

    April 4, 2014 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  2. rs

    Tommy G

    The Obama administration is in the process of gutting and cutting our military. We don't need these people to sign up.

    On the note of total hypocrisy, the lefties in here love to scream "ACA it is the law". Well, how about the same enthusiasm for our current immigration laws? Here, repeat after me "OUR IMMIGRATION LAWS ARE THE LAWS OF THE LAND. ENFORCE THEM."

    If you want it for your precious Obamacare then why don't you want it for all laws?
    _______________________________
    The greatest number of deportations ever under this President. More than any Republican President, more than the last President (and more than 2 years to go in this administration). So what's your problem? I think you'll find deportations come as the result of law enforcement.

    Meanwhile on the military- the GOP's Sequester bill has been the largest cut to the military in recent memory- not that it means mush- we still spend more than the next ten nations (including Russia and China) combined.

    Perhaps you should consider this: a military is of little value if we cannot feed, employ and take care of the health of Americans.

    April 4, 2014 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  3. B.

    The GOP, the party of absolutely zero, nothing, no,to everything.Talk about a total waste of tax dollars, these people are a political waste of our time and money!

    Never in our recent history have we witnessed a more worthless bunch that need to be voted out.

    April 4, 2014 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  4. yolanda

    @MariaMD, you lost credibility with the golf comment. I believe your savior spends a fair amount of time playing that eviil 1% game.

    April 4, 2014 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  5. Gurgyl

    Bring in all into USA....we can eat curry, we can eat samusa, Dhosha, idly, we can eat enchilada, tostada, we can eat egg plant Parma sana, we can eat Falafel, Emmm...I love falafel, enchiladas, etc. I love upma too...

    April 4, 2014 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  6. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    @yolanda: "@MariaMD, you lost credibility with the golf comment. I believe your savior spends a fair amount of time playing that eviil 1% game."

    Funny how you hateful righties refer to President Obama as "savior," "dear leader," "dictator," etc. I suppose it is because you have two modes: Unthinking disciple or knee-jerk rebel.

    Secure, open-minded people capable of greater critical thinking recognize that President Obama is a thoughtful, hard-working, intelligent leader, with whom we may not always agree AND THAT'S OK.

    April 4, 2014 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "The greatest number of deportations ever under this President....."

    I've given up repeating the facts on this one. Fact is, conservatives aren't really literally saying "Obama doesn't enforce the immigration laws." The facts are just way too against them on it. What they're really expressing, without saying it outright, is that (a) they think "Darky" is taking over THEIR white country and (b) they assume that a black man in control of the country and WH is trying to help "them" do it.

    April 4, 2014 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  8. Randy, San Francisco

    GOP outreach to Hispanics is a sham!

    April 4, 2014 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  9. Chris-E...al

    Dang @ gurgy you said last week you wanted mex and repubs to go south ? you should have dinner and repost ?

    April 4, 2014 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  10. yolanda

    @ThinkAgain, thank you for your wisdom. Perhaps you could take the time to read the less than constructive comments of your "progressive" friends. Selective much, or does your _repub/teabag moniker capture your "open mindedness" sum it up accurately?????

    April 4, 2014 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  11. rs

    Sniffit

    "The greatest number of deportations ever under this President....."

    I've given up repeating the facts on this one. Fact is, conservatives aren't really literally saying "Obama doesn't enforce the immigration laws." The facts are just way too against them on it. What they're really expressing, without saying it outright, is that (a) they think "Darky" is taking over THEIR white country and (b) they assume that a black man in control of the country and WH is trying to help "them" do it.
    ___________________
    See, I just figure that the GOP says this stuff not to make sense (because they don't), but simply to demonstrate the utter lack of reality of their existence. They don't like, ergo, anything justifies their whine, whether it be true or not.

    April 4, 2014 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  12. yolanda

    @ThinkAgain, or maybe it's the "secure" and "critical thinking" bits that are pretty much negated by that moniker of yours. Anyhow, try not to step on the glass shards when you throw that rock.

    April 4, 2014 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  13. Gop USa

    If anything we should be deporting every single last Illegal Mexican. The legal Latinos who help them scam the USA by helping them get jobs, scam our social services and rent and hide them should be up for deportation and have their citizenship stripped away for treason against the American People, we all know that the legal Latinos are the ones showing the illegals how to scam this country, after all they did it too before Reagan gave amnesty to millions of them, what a mistake that was..........

    April 4, 2014 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  14. Another ton

    Never thought I would see the GOP melt away. They are on the road to becoming irrelevant (as in history), and I expect to see it in my life time number one on my bucket list

    April 4, 2014 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  15. wendell

    why we even have a republican party is getting harder and harder to figure out. They have accomplished absolutely zero in the last five years . They fight no only the president but each other. All the while the American people suffer. Is this what we pay them for????Throw the bums out. Vote this election . We may not have the Koch brothers money but we can vote.

    April 4, 2014 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  16. Liz the First

    Oh, please, teabaggers and nutburgers, keep hacking off the minority communities. it will only speed up the arrival of the day you will be stopped from hurting this country any more.

    April 4, 2014 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  17. Donnie the Lion

    GOP, keep alienating Hispanic voters......you are playing right into the Democrats hands. You are continuing to lose the Hispanic vote, the female vote, the black vote, and the youth vote.

    But in white households with 5 or more guns, you are dominating, so that is something.

    April 4, 2014 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  18. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    "Fact is, conservatives aren't really literally saying "Obama doesn't enforce the immigration laws." The facts are just way too against them on it. What they're really expressing, without saying it outright, is that (a) they think "Darky" is taking over THEIR white country and (b) they assume that a black man in control of the country and WH is trying to help "them" do it."

    And conservatives are scared scheisse-less thinking that when THEY become the minority, they'll be treated as badly as they have treated minorities in the past.

    April 4, 2014 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  19. Leeza

    Thank you conservatives. At least SOMEONE is looking out for the interests of citizens.

    April 4, 2014 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  20. len

    Wake up and vote in 2014.....do not wait....very important election. ....vote the tea party folls out.....!!!!

    April 4, 2014 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  21. jonquil123

    Okay, here is the problem, America: Republicans "don't trust President Obama". But he's our President, he was legitimately voted-in and he can't run for office, again. We can not afford to elect people into office who are afraid to or refuse to, do their duty because of President Obama. He's our President, that's it - they must learn to work with him. Those who can't, should not be voted into office because that won't change and we can't afford two, more years of inaction and cross-party sabotage. Learn to work together or go home.

    April 4, 2014 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  22. plain & simple

    Stupidity is the word of the decade for the tea party branch of the "inclusive" republican party! Try including some people with anything other than a narrow minded view of this world.

    April 4, 2014 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  23. Name

    Us Americans need to do two things. Get rid of religion in politics. Get rid of the tea party. Everything else will take care of itself

    April 4, 2014 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  24. What's in that Tea Anyway?

    In order to wear the true TeaPublican three point tin foil putz hat, you have to leave facts out of it i.e. The greatest number of deportations ever under this President"...oh BTW that's why President of Obama got 85% of the Latino vote ...No, how about Latinos realize that President Obama is working to make this country work for EVERYONE, regardless of ethnicity and "upholding the existing laws" Keep winning those National election GOP/Tea Pee'rs....Ouch, stupid is as the GOP/Tea Pee'r does

    April 4, 2014 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  25. J.V.Hodgson

    This just proves that its not a question of Republicans not trusting President Obama ( actually the senates immigration bill) but that Boehner was right to refuse to put that bill on the floor of the house for " amnesty reasons."
    This legislation not proceeding is seen as potentially costing Republican house candidates their seats many of them tea party followers.
    Regards,
    Hodgson

    April 4, 2014 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
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