by Jim Nintzel
While Congressman Raul Grijalva and others are trying to bring fresh attention to immigration reform through various protests,
Talking Points memo reports today that House conservatives are now vowing to block immigration reform:
House Republicans have been subtly angling for months to quash immigration reform. But after getting rolled by Democrats in the spending and shutdown fights, conservatives who call the shots in the chamber are more determined than ever to block an overhaul and imperil President Barack Obama's second-term priority.
The government shutdown fight has given House conservatives a new pretext: Obama refused to deal with us on the debt, so we won't deal with him on immigration reform.
"I know the president has said, well, gee, now this is the time to talk about immigration reform," Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) told TPM. "He ain't gonna get a willing partner in the House until he actually gets serious about ... his plan to deal with the debt."
And a new talking point: Obama simply wants to use immigration reform to "destroy" the GOP.
"I think it'd be crazy for the House Republican leadership to enter into negotiations with him on immigration," Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) told reporters on the eve of the GOP's shutdown surrender. "And I'm a proponent of immigration reform. So I think what he's done over the last two and a half weeks — he's trying to destroy the Republican Party. And I think that anything we do right now with this president on immigration will be with that same goal in mind: which is to try to destroy the Republican Party and not to get good policies."
This gets back to the central debate within the GOP when it comes to immigration reform and the Hispanic vote that I've been writing about this year: One side of the GOP, led by the likes of John McCain, says that immigration reform is a vital first step in recapturing support among Latino voters in the future. The other side of the GOP doesn't believe Latinos will ever vote for them in significant numbers, so it's best to continue hammering on them.