We sit on the precipice of the possibility that the most powerful and committed Republican House amnesty leader will become Speaker of the House.
My description of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is not based just on what I know but on what PBS proved Tuesday night with its premier airing of a two-hour documentary, IMMIGRATION BATTLE. It provided detail after detail of Ryan's back-room efforts to get a version of the Senate Gang of 8 amnesty through the House over the last two years.
Perhaps you need to know nothing more than that Rep. Luis Guitierrez (D-IL) made it clear in the documentary that he regards Ryan as far more a friend of illegal immigrants than is Nancy Pelosi.
The crisis today is this:
1. After a couple of weeks of saying he didn't want to be Speaker -- but with the nation's corporate lobbies pressuring him to take the gavel -- Ryan said last night that he'll run for Speaker if everybody agrees to give him more power than outgoing Speaker Boehner has had.
2. Ryan said he'll wait for various factions of House Republicans to tell him that they will give him that power and then make his definitive announcement about running on Friday.
SOME PROMISES FOR THIS TERM BUT WHAT ABOUT LATER?
Two weeks ago, it looked like House Republicans were preparing a coronation for Ryan until a number of news outlets -- including the highly influential Politico -- began printing stories about his long history of destroying immigration enforcement and trying to open the borders to tens of millions of foreign workers.
We at NumbersUSA have been the most quoted people in these stories. Most observers have said that Ryan's immigration record is the only thing that could keep him from assuming the powerful Speakership.
So, we now hear that Ryan is making some promises not to push his personal amnesty agenda -- but only for this Congress.
National Review reports from last night:
Though it wasn't a night in which Ryan was making many concessions -- aside from a nod that he was seriously considering taking a job he has said publicly he does not want -- he also hinted strongly that he will not bring an immigration bill to the House floor. He told his colleagues the issue was simply "too divisive" and he wanted to focus on the things on which the conference is in agreement, like border security and internal enforcement, as opposed to a comprehensive bill.
That concession comes only because of the furious pushback Ryan's supporters have already been getting.
But it isn't enough.
Ryan appears to be a principled man (but to principles we oppose from the core of our mission). He is ideologically committed to amnesty and wide-open foreign-labor importation. He mentored under and worked for politicians who killed the Jordan Commission recommendations in the 1990s. If those recommendations had passed Congress, there would be no debate about immigration today. And there would be so little illegal immigration (because E-Verify would be mandatory), nobody would be talking about it.
Ryan has done or said nothing while holding office himself that disavows the destructive work of him, his colleagues and his bosses of the 1990s.
We can expect that the first chance he gets, he will begin building a majority of Republicans for the gigantic immigration increases that he almost pushed through in 2014, according to PBS.
And what is the chance that somebody with Ryan's ideology could ever provide leadership in promoting the immigration-reduction bills that our country desperately needs?
WHAT PBS SHOWED US ABOUT RYAN
A big part of the storyline were these points:
After GOP soundly rejected Boehner's immigration principles unveiled at a GOP retreat in Jan. 2014, Ryan was chosen to resurrect the effort in March. Obama held off on his own actions to give Ryan and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) time to come up with a bill that the House would pass.
On Monday June 9, 2014, Ryan and Diaz-Balart tell Luis Gutierrez that the bill they have crafted has the majority of Republicans saying they'll vote for it.
Gutierrez tells his staff that Ryan's trick is to provide legalization (amnesty) to all the "undocumented" but deny most of them a special path to citizenship. The idea is for Democrats to keep insisting on citizenship so that Ryan can show his fellow Republicans that he won a big concession by stripping the citizenship provision. But citizenship isn't really what the open-borders advocates most want. What they want is the legal residency and work permits -- which Ryan would give everybody with his bill.
Nearly all of Ryan's leadership on this was done behind closed doors out of view of the public.
But on Tuesday, June 10 at 9 p.m., calamity strikes the Obama/Gutierrez/Ryan camp with the defeat of then-Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a primary nobody was watching -- and his immigration-expansionist positions were the key reason for the defeat.
Later that week, the border surge breaks into constant national news.
Narrators say those two things killed the inevitability of the Ryan amnesty passing.
Diaz-Balart's staffer says on camera that they had the votes to pass their comprehensive immigration bill at the beginning of the week.
All of that happened without the public even knowing that Ryan had a bill.
Narrator says, at the end of the week, House Republicans knew all they needed to know with Cantor's defeat on the immigration issue and the TV coverage of the border surge: "The whip count commitments evaporated."
Throughout the documentary, Gutierrez repeatedly talks about his reliance on Ryan and his trust in Ryan.
3 IMMIGRATION-EXPANSIONISTS DEPOSED FOR A WORSE CHOICE?
The PBS documentary leaves no question that the defeat of then-Majority Leader Cantor by Dave Brat may have been essential to keeping an amnesty from passing Congress in 2014.
But it is sobering to contemplate that Cantor was not nearly as committed to the free flow of foreign labor as is Ryan.
The documentary also makes it clear what we always told you that Boehner always wanted to pass comprehensive amnesty and immigration increases. But I believe he wasn't so ideologically committed to it, so he could be moved by his Republican Conference to block the amnesty at many turns (even while working with Ryan behind the scenes to fashion one that he could push through).
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was in line to be Speaker but was driven out of the running last month by the same forces that caused Boehner to throw in the towel. McCarthy also is far less ideologically committed to open borders than Ryan.
All three of those House GOP leaders were out of step with the voters who put their party into power in Congress.
And, yet, we are on a precipice created by their being deposed that exposes us to a far worse threat than they ever posed.
Their commitment to immigration expansionism is the main reason that Boehner, McCarthy and Cantor will not be Speaker next year. But will it also be the main reason that a far greater immigration expansionist in the person of Paul Ryan WILL be?
ROY BECK is President & Founder of NumbersUSA
Updated: Wed, Nov 4th 2015 @ 8:30pm EST