All this should add up to a dead issue. "So why am I not sleeping at night?" queried Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA, a grassroots group that has effectively lobbied dozens of rank-and-file House Republicans to oppose anything that could lead to legalization of people without papers. "What worries me is that Boehner and the business lobbies get together to pull some kind of maneuver" for a limited legalization/guest-worker/border-security bill. "Then Democrats in the Senate will say, 'Maybe this is our last chance until 2017,' " he said.
Powerful House Republicans like Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan all want to see something happen on immigration. The only thing that has stopped them is skepticism from tea partiers like Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., who says that Obama hasn't enforced existing laws, or Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., who warns that the president is using the issue for political gain. This group of hard-line House members is amplified by nonstop advocacy from groups like NumbersUSA, which flood their offices with calls saying there should be no legalization for unauthorized immigrants under any circumstances.
Beck's grassroots network has been actively lobbying House Republicans this week to stop a noncontroversial border-security bill from coming to the House floor, fearing that the measure is the "camel's nose under the tent" leading to legalization of undocumented immigrants. The bill could become a conference-committee vehicle with a Senate bill that would give unauthorized immigrants a 13-year path to citizenship. The roughly two dozen House Republicans who want to avoid such negotiations "remain scared to death of [House GOP] leadership on this," Beck said.
By Fawn Johnson in The National Journal
Updated: Wed, Oct 23rd 2013 @ 10:54am EDT