House conservatives block modest GOP immigration proposal
April 4th, 2014
04:09 PM ET
4 years 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That status would be rescinded if the person left military service unless it was an honorable discharge.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. Grand American Patriot

    The only immigration reform I support is restoring the Hispanic and Latino American populaiton of the United States back to it's 1960 population. In 1960 Census, the populaiton of the United States was 179.323.175 people, the population of Hispanic and Latino Americans was 5.814.175 people which translated to 3.2% of the nation's populaiton. Fastforward 50 years to the 2010 Census, the populaiton of the United States is 308.745.538 people, the populaiton of Hispanic and Laitno Americans is 50.477.594 people which translates to 16.8% of the naiton's populaiton. So in 50 years because of mass and illegal immigraiton aided by treasonous politicans and greedy plutocrats the Hispanic and Laitno American populaiton of the United States increased from 5.814.175 people to 50.477.594 people, which means an increase of 44.,663.419 people. This is unnaceptable and intollerable. This my dear fellow Americans is not immigraiton but INVASION. What is needed is to radically reduce the populaiton of Hispanic and Laitno Americans to much lower levels in order to stop the Latinizaiton of the United States. The time has come for the United States to re-establish the 1960 populaiton of Hispanic and Laitno Americans, which would involve the population of Hispanic and Laitno Americans to be reduced from 50.477.594 people back to 5.814.175 poeple, this means that 44.663.419 Hispanic and Latino Americans must be deported from the United States and returned to their homelands in Latin America where they belong. I am in favour of a referendum on whether to continue or to discontinue immigraiton from Latin America and I vote to discontinue it. We have had referendums in the past on things like capital punnishment abolition and marijuana legalizaiton/decriminalizaiton, why not immigraiton. There are too many Hispanic and Laitno Americans in the United States and the sooner that my fellow American realise this and accept this the better.


    April 4, 2014 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  2. Mr. Balls

    Time is not on their side. The Republican Party is on an inexorable slide to irrelevance.

    April 4, 2014 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  3. just me

    Anyone who serves in the military a full enlistment period and is discharged honorably should be granted full citizenship immediately. They earned it. The country would be better off if a two year hitch was mandatory for all citizens.

    April 5, 2014 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  4. Dung

    Just let immigration reform I been us 25 years I not see my family in vietnam

    April 5, 2014 07:18 am at 7:18 am |

    Yea, keep think your going to take the senate and keep the house GOP morons, even moderate republicans won't vote for you !!!!! But you can keep the riff raff GOP stupid voters!!!!

    April 5, 2014 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  6. Dennis Freeman

    Tea Party/GOP – useless

    April 5, 2014 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  7. Marie MD

    @Yolanda, I chose golf because it seems to be the game of your orange weeping man in the house. For all I care he could pass the time playing Scrabble but you would find something wrong with that also.
    If our President plays hoops (aka basketball) he is wasting his time and should be working. If he goes on a business trip, he's wasting tax payer money. If he, god forbid, takes a WORKING vacation the haters cry is that they are paying for his vacation while some Americans don't even have jobs.
    He is not a savior or the second coming. He is trying to save the country from the pit of hell your boy #43 left US in. If the right wasn't full of racists and self proclaimed messiahs (rafaelito for one) maybe we would be in a better place right now. The silver lining? In spite of voter suppression and money from the billionaires from the right he won a second term.

    April 5, 2014 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  8. Patrick

    Obama's record number of deportations also come when there is a record number number of illegal people in this country. If you sneaked into this country you are here illegally. Deporting people here illegally is very minor when compared what other countries do to people illegally in those countries. Just look at what Mexico does do illegal immigrants.

    The whole ranting of all GOP/DEMS must go is laughable at best. To fix Congress we need to make being politician a privilege and honor again instead of a career. When Congress was first formed people served a term or two then went back to their regular jobs. That changed over the years. Serving in Congress needs to go back to the original ideals.

    The Obamabots are out in force with the false claims that they say are facts. Obama's policies are not working. You cannot spend your way out of a spending problem. You cut the spending and pay down the dept. Increasing revenue (taxes) is done. To fix this country's debt taxes need to go up, all spending needs to go down not just in select areas, and waste needs to e cut. This government excels at waste.

    April 5, 2014 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  9. Daniel

    This GOP thing is so dead!
    They will hang around as long as they still have those old white people who vote for them in those carefully drawn districts, but Nature is shrinking those numbers pretty fast and soon enough the Great Old Party will join the Dodo bird.
    I don't know how long it will take, but I can confidently say today that G W Bush was the last Republican President we had. That by itself will be a strong picture for future History students to explain why they disappeared, and it will be a shame since they will not know about all the racism, hatred, corruption, bigotry and old plain stupidity that was so abundant in their ranks.
    And then again, maybe that is a good thing.

    April 5, 2014 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  10. bcrunner

    @Yolanda: If president Obama was let's say clearing brush instead of playing golf for a month at a time, would that make you feel better?

    April 5, 2014 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  11. 1twinsfan


    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...
    You do realize that many Hispanics can claim their heritage in the USA, don't you? El Paso and Los Angeles aren't name chosen on a whim.

    – This was a win-win legislation had it passed.

    April 5, 2014 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  12. Bill from GA

    If any part of immigration reform is worthy, it should be tied to similar bills, or stand alone. Not tied to a defense bill.

    Bush did more to stop the flow of illegal immigrants than any President. By wrecking our economy, their incentive was lost, and immigration gains were near zero. Now that Barry has restored the economy, they will be back in droves. So let's give them more incentive by giving their children a guaranteed path to citizenship. NOT!

    If our government did more to enforce laws about legal working status, and punish those hiring illegals, the problem would solve itself.

    As to President Obama deporting more illegal immigrants, he is also the first president to essentially say, if you stay out of trouble, we will leave you alone. His deportations target criminals; previous administrations deported more randomly.

    April 5, 2014 11:50 am at 11:50 am |

    The house GOP CLOWNS are INCAPABLE OF GOVORNING AND NEED to be KICKED OUT in November!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 5, 2014 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  14. Ron

    If ever there were a reason for a Hispanic to get out the vote, the House Repuublicans have found it. And you don't have to be Hispanic. Anyone – ANYONE – trying to become a citizen with the USA outdated (stemming from the 1920's) immigration policies should be beating on doors with the cry, "I want to be a patriot. Help me." And if you own a small business, you have got to throw these clowns out. After all, do you want more customers or less?

    April 5, 2014 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  15. Jack maier

    that is a bunch of crap, illegals aliens aren't americans and thus have no rights in this country, too bad, let them become citizens through legal channels

    April 5, 2014 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  16. YoonYoungJo

    I think the big thing conservatives worry about is, with America being a giant melting pot and all, is the possibility that too many foreign ideas, that are contrary to what America stands for could flood this country all at once. Its true and it could happen. This is a what if. But what if the Us allowed total open borders and allowed anyone and everyone to acquire a work visa permit for any duration. And 100m of them flooded the country at once. And let's say the 100m entering the country do not believe in freedom, truth or anti corruption ideals. The people who do practice those things (truth, freedom, anti corruption) would get trampled on in an instant.

    April 5, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  17. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    @bcrunner: "@Yolanda: If president Obama was let's say clearing brush instead of playing golf for a month at a time, would that make you feel better?"

    And President Obama playing golf is a lot cheaper than flying GW out to Crawford, cheaper BY FAR.

    April 5, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  18. rs

    Grand American Patriot
    The only immigration reform I support is restoring the Hispanic and Latino American populaiton of the United States back to it's 1960 population. In 1960 Census, the populaiton of the United States was 179.323.175 people, the population of Hispanic and Latino Americans was 5.814.175 people which translated to 3.2% of the nation's population.
    Too bad for you the U.S. Census didn't count "Hispanics" until the 1970 Census. In the 1960 Census there were Whites and Blacks only. The figure you are quoting is likely historic nation of origin.

    Meanwhile champ- how do you propose to dispose of so many American citizens, eh?

    April 5, 2014 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  19. No more

    all i know is that when midterm elections come heads are going to roll

    April 5, 2014 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  20. neastsider

    The baggers in Congress are against any form of progress on any front, they want regression, they want suppression, they want divison,they want power, they want110% of everything and give nothing, they love to hate and hate to love.

    April 5, 2014 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  21. StevenH

    Grand Amaerican Patriot, there is a G.A.P. in your logic. You want to restore Hispanic population back to 1960 levels, but you seem to have no concept that Hispanic-Amaericans have babies. And because they have a high percentage of Catholics, their population of AMERICAN CITIZENS has increased faster than some other ethnic groups. You can't just arbitrarily remove citizens you don't personally care for. If that were true, than I would also have that power, and narrow bigots such as yourself would be elsewhere.

    April 5, 2014 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  22. The right wing have lost their damned minds

    Of course they can't vote to appease their base...What the heck you think they were gonna do???

    April 5, 2014 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  23. STLBRZ

    Soon the Hispanic population will be a majority. Not very good news for Republicans and Tbaggers. The endangered species list for them.

    April 5, 2014 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  24. Casey Rodriguez

    Round all illegals that are in this country illegaly and send them all back, young and old.After ICE pulls them out of factories,kitchens, motels. hotels.restaurants,casinossconstruction,and people's yards there will be more than enough full time jobs for american citizens.It's that simple..

    April 5, 2014 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  25. Amit patel

    They should do immigration reform to deportation separation broken heart family separation to keep together in USA pass immigration laws

    April 5, 2014 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
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