A group of conservative lawmakers will challenge House leadership by presenting their own set of guidelines to overhaul the nation's immigration laws before senior House members unveil their own next week at the Republican retreat, TheBlaze has learned.
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio arrives for a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014. (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)
"Congress is working on a counter proposal that would make its first priority helping out-of-work Americans find jobs instead of helping Obama’s corporate pals hire more foreign workers," said a Republican congressional aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "Another tenet is that enforcement must be accomplished before drafting or moving any form of amnesty."
Republican opponents argue that a current proposal by Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has already received his committee's approval for a bill that would allow the hospitality industry to hire 500,000 guest workers a year.
In an interview with Telemundo earlier this month he said there should be “no reason” illegal immigrants shouldn’t have a way to gain legal status as long as tougher border security measures are enacted by Congress.
Federal law enforcement officials who spoke with TheBlaze said, however, that current border security laws are not being enforced and the administration has tied the hands of officers and agents working along the nearly 2,000-mile border with Mexico.
"This is all a joke on the American people," said a Department of Homeland Security official who works along the U.S.-Mexico border. "If we don't follow the laws we have on the books now, what good are new laws? It's all about votes and politics. See who these congressmen hang out with you'll know why they're so interested in immigration reform at the expense of national security."
The counter-proposal to the House leadership's outline is expected to be made public next week, the congressional aide said.
"These would just be dueling principles – no legislation," the aide said.
The aide said the counter-proposal would emphasize the importance of border security and would be "included in the principles that say enforcement should be accomplished before introducing amnesty measures."
House Speaker John Boehner and other Republican leaders are expected to release their own set of principles at the annual Republican retreat next week, according to another GOP aide who spoke to TheBlaze.
There are a number of Republicans, however, in opposition to the principles expected to be announced by Boehner. They contend that those guidelines will weaken border security and lead to amnesty for the nearly 12 million illegal immigrants currently living in the U.S.
Boehner and other House leadership have been working since last year on the proposal in an effort to lay guidelines for immigration overhaul, expected to be released before President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address on Tuesday.
Goodlatte, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan have all been working with Boehner behind closed doors on the principles since last year. TheBlaze reported in October how Republican backroom deals could lead to the passage of immigration reform this year.
Last week, conservative commentator Laura Ingraham grilled Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a supporter of immigration reform, over such proposals on her radio show. She argued with Rubio that a Republican push for immigration legislation would give Obama what he needs to pass a comprehensive reform package that would lead to amnesty.
Rubio, who was a co-author of the Senate's comprehensive immigration reform bill known as the "Gang of Eight" bill, acknowledged that there would be nothing to stop Obama from eliminating border security provisions saying, "even people that would like to do something on [immigration reform] are finding it hard to argue against that.”