In response to President Obama’s call for action next year on the DREAM Act and so-called comprehensive immigration reform, House and Senate Republican leaders said they would oppose any attempt to amnesty illegal aliens, according to the Washington Post. Incoming House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) said, "It is pointless to talk about any new immigration bills that grant amnesty until we secure the border, since such bills will only encourage more illegal immigration."
In a Post interview, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), the incoming Chairman of the House immigration subcommittee, said, "It is extraordinarily unlikely that any version of comprehensive immigration reform that includes amnesty will go through the House of Representatives."
Stephen Miller, a spokesman for Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said that further DREAM Act revisions would not solve the underlying problem with the bill. "When you're traveling in the wrong direction, modest alterations don't make a difference," Miller said. "You need to get off the road and head down a different one. As Senator Sessions has said, the first thing we need to do is end the massive illegality at the border."
In an interview with the Capitol Hill newspaper Politico, Rep. Smith detailed his immigration-related priorities for the coming year. He said the House Judiciary Committee’s first two immigration-related hearings will focus on expanding E-Verify, which checks whether new hires are eligible to work in the United States, and on investigating the Obama Administration’s record on worksite enforcement.
Rep. Smith said, “They are what I call 70 percent issues — 70 percent or more of the American people support those efforts…I think they are popular across the board, and I think they will be appreciated by all American workers regardless of their ethnicity or background or anything else.”
Rep. Smith also said his committee would address other issues such as birthright citizenship and legal immigration levels “later on in this Congress.” Smith said, “We don’t have any specific plans now in the early months to move on these issues. The focus is on creating jobs and protecting jobs.”
Rep. Smith told Politico that the Obama administration has abdicated its responsibility to go after illegal workers. Smith said, “We have a situation where the administration looks more like (it supports a policy of) worksite endorsement of illegal workers, rather than worksite enforcement for the benefit of American workers.”
In a separate interview, NumbersUSA Executive Director Roy Beck told Politico, “(I)f Lamar Smith is going to focus on keeping illegal aliens out of the jobs, that is more important than all the illegal immigration stuff put together.”