Sixteen GOP lawmakers warned President Obama in a letter delivered Thursday that they "reject" his call for the House to pass an immigration reform bill, which they say will displace tens of millions of American workers who are already struggling to keep a part time job, reduce wages and affect tens of millions more who are unemployed.
Vice President Joe Biden applauds at left as President Barack Obama urges Congress to take back up comprehensive immigration reform during an event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013. (AP)
Alabama Republican Rep. Mo Brooks spearheaded the letter, along with 15 other members, saying the Senate's immigration overhaul will give permanent residency to over 30 million immigrants in the next decade, adding in the letter that the "so-called comprehensive immigration reform may be a good deal for big businesses who want to reduce labor costs, and it may be a good deal for progressive labor unions seeking new workers from abroad, but it's an awful deal for U.S. workers - including African-American and Hispanic communities enduring chronically high unemployment."
"The letter focuses on the concern that the president’s preferred immigration policies would have a harmful impact on American workers," a Senate aide, who is familiar with the immigration reform proposals, told TheBlaze. "I think it’s particularly timely given the president’s and Senate Democrats’ current focus on unemployment, wages, and inequality."
To that end, the letter's conclusion doesn't hold back [emphasis added]:
Job number one of Congress should be to reduce the unemployment rolls, get families and communities out of poverty and government dependency, rebuild our deteriorating communities and collapsing middle class, and increase wages for American citizens. Your immigration proposals do the exact opposite on every count."
See the full letter below:
Opposition in the House continues to remain a roadblock for Obama, who is hoping to pass immigration reform as part of his list of second-term priorities, which was a promise to Latinos that reform would be completed on his watch.
But staunch opponents are also standing up against senior House Republicans such as House Speaker John Boehner, who are also pushing for their own version of immigration reform and holding closed door meetings to plan ways to get other GOP members on board.
Last year, the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration package -- known as the "Gang of Eight" -- that attempted to address border security and offered a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.
Opponents in the House, however, said the Gang-of-Eight bill failed to address the most important issues plaguing immigration, border security and would open the gateway for more illegal immigration in the future. House members then began to take a piecemeal approach to the legislation, which still concerns opponents of immigration reform who fear that passing any bill to the Senate at this point in time will lead to a comprehensive package after it leaves the House.
TheBlaze previously reported on the number of House bills already being considered and the concerns among many House members that proponents of comprehensive reform would sneak through legislation through closed door conference in the Senate.
Many opponents like Rep. Steve King, an Iowa Republican who spoke to TheBlaze in an earlier interview, said any type of immigration legislation at this point would amnesty for those in the country illegally and would open the door for a comprehensive package.
Boehner could wait to work on immigration reform until after the filing deadlines for 2014 primary elections -- possibly not voting on immigration packages until April -- which some say will protect incumbents concerned about their seats.