Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies and a GOP witness at last month’s Senate hearings on immigration reform, laid out his strategy for stopping the reform bill on a Tea Party Unity conference call Thursday.
Krikorian told the Tea Party activists on the call that they were lined up against “all the big institutions in the country” including “Big Business…Big Labor, all the big donors, Big Government Big Education, Big Media, Big Philanthropy, Big Religion — the Southern Baptist Convention has been roped into this as well.”
Opponents of immigration reform shouldn’t be “distracted by particular pieces of the bill” they might support, he said. Instead, “This needs to be a kind of kill-and-replace, like the fight on Obamacare response.”
“There may be parts of it that some people like, increasing some skilled immigration or guest worker programs, what have you,” he said. “I’m not a big fan of either of those things, but if they’re included in this bill it doesn’t matter because there’s so much in this bill that shouldn’t be there that’s so bad that the whole thing needs to be killed.”
All the big institutions in the country are behind this. Big Business is for this, Big Labor, all the big donors, Big Government, Big Education, Big Media, Big Philanthropy, Big Religion — the Southern Baptist Convention has been roped into this as well. And once the bill came out, though, it became pretty clear that there’s plenty there to attack. The inevitability is not real. This in fact can be stopped, and in fact I think the approach needs to be not to sort of be distracted by particular pieces of the bill, but the whole thing needs to be killed. This needs to be a kind of kill-and-replace, like the fight on Obamacare response. Because this really is an equivalent to Obamacare and frankly probably much more consequential in the long term, much more damaging to the health of the country.
There may be parts of it that some people like, increasing some skilled immigration or guest worker programs, what have you. I’m not a big fan of either of those things, but if they’re included in this bill it doesn’t matter because there’s so much in this bill that shouldn’t be there that’s so bad that the whole thing needs to be killed.
Krikorian went out of his way to attack two of the four Republicans on the bipartisan Gang of Eight that devised the immigration reform proposal. Sen. Lindsey Graham, he said, is facing attack ads in South Carolina “both because he’s on the Gang of Eight and because he’s frankly kind of a jerk.”
He then accused Sen. Marco Rubio, the main Republican spokesperson for the Gang of Eight’s bipartisan proposal, of having “totally drunk the Kool-Aid” and acting as “Chuck Schumer’s water boy.” The best home immigration opponents have to stop the bill, he added, is to “scare [Rubio] enough to give him some kind of excuse to walk away.”
Rubio needs to be the focus, not so much of attack, although he does kind of need to be attacked. Rubio needs to be, it needs to be made clear to him he’s got to back off this bill. I’m not sure that’s possible. He’s completely, totally latched himself to Chuck Schumer at this point. But, you know, it seems to me it’s at least possible, offering him and a lot of other Republicans an opportunity, a way of backing out of this thing. Because especially if Rubio backs out, if he somehow, and it’s going to be hard at this point, but if he were to walk away from this and say, ‘Look, I tried, it just didn’t work,’ the whole thing is over, it’s collapsed and there’s just no chance the Democrats have of getting this through.
So, in a sense, Rubio really is the key guy. And your question is, the question, the way it would have to be presented to Rubio, is, ‘Are you the conservative ambassador to this Gang of Eight writing this bill, or are you Chuck Schumer’s ambassador to conservatives?” And I’m afraid he’s the latter. He’s now Chuck Schumer’s water boy, making the case for the bill that the Democratic staff, Schumer’s staff, wrote, and making the case for it to conservatives to try to get enough people basically, you know, silenced enough that this thing can get through the Senate. That’s the real danger and that’s where it seems to me the pressure has to be applied.
There are some people running ads in South Carolina, for instance, against Lindsey Graham, both because he’s on the Gang of Eight and because he’s frankly kind of a jerk and because he’s up in 2014 and there are people talking about primarying him. My point is that making Rubio feel the heat isn’t going to get him to change his mind. He’s totally drunk the Kool-Aid. I mean, I can’t put it too strongly: he is Chuck Schumer’s water boy. He is Chuck Schumer’s assistant in tearing out this amnesty. And he just thinks that all the rest of it doesn’t matter as long as he can get everybody amnesty. And remember, everybody’s amnesty first, within a few months of this bill passing. Everything else is just promises. ‘If, you know, we get everyone amnesty then we can get our message to Hispanic voters,’ or something. It’s a complete fantasy. He’s totally bought into it. The point is to scare him enough to give him some kind of excuse to walk away, that’s what my point is.