According to the Washington Post, the former GOP presidential hopeful is teaming up with Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., to push comprehensive immigration reform through the House of Representatives. It’s a curious partnership, for sure. Although both men are bonded in their Catholic faith, one wouldn’t think they have much more in common.
It’s odd, for example, that Ryan would be so eager to work with someone who denounced his former running mate on the House floor, linking Mr. Romney to racial hatred of Latinos. Why? Because Romney suggested that Arizona’s SB 1070 immigration law might be a good first step in turning the tide of illegal immigration in America:
Back in April, Ryan appeared at a pro-amnesty rally with Gutierrez, hosted by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. “This is not Rep. Ryan’s first time in Chicago but it is his first time at a pro-immigrant event in our pro-immigrant city,” Gutierrez announced at the time. “Let’s show Rep. Ryan – an influential voice among House Republicans – the enthusiasm and strength of Chicago’s pro-immigrant community, and in so doing impress upon him that by standing with immigrants he’s standing on the right side of history.”
Gutierrez has been rated with a 0% by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), making him something of an open-borders extremist. He has voted against securing the border, and this is the congressman who identified his “one loyalty” in Congress as serving “the immigrant community.” He’s even criticized President Obama — the guy who issued de facto amnesty to young illegal immigrants with an executive order — as being too focused on enforcement of immigration laws. So you really have to wonder: What does Paul Ryan have in common with this guy?
The 43-year-old congressman, whose own political future remains bright enough that some regard him as a 2016 presidential contender, has been using that stature to prod Gutierrez’s bipartisan group of seven House members to keep trying for a still-elusive compromise.
He has held private meetings with members of the group and has reached out to other Republicans to try to find support for a comprehensive plan that would include a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants already in the country illegally.
On Wednesday afternoon, Ryan made a similar plea at a special immigration meeting of the House Republican Conference. He linked stronger border security and citizenship for undocumented workers to a more vibrant economy, according to people in the room.