Conservative activists fight back on immigration
Activists opposed to immigration reform are urging congressional candidates to sign a pledge that they won't vote for immigration reform.
The move apparently began on Laura Ingrham's national radio show and is being pushed by Tea Party groups all across the country.
Conservative activists have launched an election-year effort to get Republicans to sign a pledge that renounces President Obama's immigration reform movement.
Critics of the Senate-passed immigration bill are copying a tactic that has proved wildly successful in battling tax increases.ADVERTISEMENT
They are pushing Republican candidates to sign a pledge to oppose three key components of Obama’s reform agenda. In the past week, it has become an issue in several competitive Republican primaries around the country.
It is modeled on the concept that anti-tax activist Grover Norquist made famous with the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.
Laura Ingraham, a popular conservative radio host, is squarely behind the effort, which is sponsored by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) Congressional Task Force.
She is tracking which members of Congress and candidates sign the pledge.
In Mississippi, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, who is challenging Sen. Thad Cochran in the Republican primary, this week announced his support for the pledge during an appearance on Ingraham’s show.
“I did sign it and I believe in it,” he told her. “I think it’s time for us to focus on the America worker for a change. That should be our focus.
“What we’ve seen over the last many years is wage stagnation, we’ve seen growth in welfare programs, we’ve even seen shrinking workforce participation,” he added.
It requires signatories promise to oppose any form of work authorization for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants living in United States. It binds them to oppose legislation that would increase the number of legal immigrants allowed in the country and reject proposals to increase the number of guest workers.
New York Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, who is challenging Rep. Richard Hanna in the Republican primary in New York’s 22nd congressional district, has signed it. So have three Republicans running in the primary to replace retiring Rep. Spencer Bachus (R) in Alabama’s 6th district.
Cochran told The Hill Thursday that he would have to read the immigration pledge carefully before making a decision.
“I haven’t looked at it,” he said. “I think I’ll read it.”
He said he wouldn’t let his “opponent or any pressure group try to get commitments from me about how to vote on something that isn’t an issue before the Senate.”
The GOP leadership, who have been pushing for a vote on several immigration reform bills in the House, have to be worried about this turn of events. The pledge is obviously very popular and candidates don't want to risk the wrath of Tea Party voters by not signing it.
So immigration reform was dead, then it came back to life, and if the popularity of this pledge is any indication, it may die again. Any hope by Boehner and Co. to cobble together some kind of legislative package with which they could go to conference with the Senate appears very unlikely unless the speaker brings the bills to the floor with minimal GOP support, allowing the Democrats a victory if it passes.
Any such move in an election year would be stupid - which is why we shouldn't put it past Boehner to try it.