Caucus vows fight if immigration pact reaches the House
By Jerry Kammer COPLEY NEWS SERVICE
WASHINGTON – Rep.
Brian Bilbray of Carlsbad and other “anti-amnesty” House
Republicans delivered a sharp warning yesterday, saying
compromise immigration legislation pending in the Senate
faces raucous and determined opposition if it reaches the
“The way you stop
illegal immigration is not to start by announcing that
you're going to reward illegal immigration,” said Bilbray,
chairman of the Immigration Reform Caucus.
The group, made up of 100 Republicans and seven
Democrats, opposes the Senate and Bush administration
proposal to legalize the nation's 12 million illegal
immigrants as part of a broad immigration law makeover.
The Senate recently debated and shelved the proposal
but is moving toward a new round of debate. If the Senate
passes it, attention will shift to the House.
Last year, with Republicans controlling both sides of
Capitol Hill, the House passed an enforcement-only bill
while the Senate approved a sweeping legalization. With
the two chambers moving in opposite directions, both bills
This year, Democrats control the House and Senate. For
that reason, it's unclear whether Bilbray and his largely
Republican caucus would be able to defeat the legalization
However, that didn't stop them from talking tough
yesterday in rejecting the latest gambit by proponents in
the Senate to win over balky Republicans – a promise to
spend $4.4 billion on border enforcement.
“Only in Washington would people believe that throwing
money at the problem is going to solve it,” Bilbray said.
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said he would soon introduce
legislation that would require a crackdown at the border
and in the workplace.
“It's time to be resolute, it's time to show some
backbone and it's time to stop amnesty,” King said.
The Senate could take up its immigration bill late this
week, and a final vote on the measure could come as soon
as next week.