Sensenbrenner Too Busy With Immigration to Talk About Immigration

The Wall Street Journal ran an interesting article on the growing dissatisfaction among the business community, normally staunch Republican supporters, with the GOP’s hard-line anti-immigration stance.

As the WSJ reported “Hard-line lawmakers are betting that a focus on enforcement — stopping illegal immigration at the border and stepping up deportation — will energize conservative voters.”

Some in the GOP seem to be taking it a step further, telling traditional business supporters that if they don’t like it … well … too bad

That may explain why the debate doesn’t seem to be moving in the business community’s direction. “If the business community were voting on this, they’d be winning. But they’re not convincing anybody they’re voting on this,” says Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who backs House Republicans’ focus on enforcement, says: “If the business community believes they would be better off with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, they should go help them.”

Christmas-tree grower Arlene Frelk, of Merrillan, Wis., says she was unsuccessful recently when trying to meet in Washington with Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R., Wis.) to discuss immigration. Ms. Frelk, a Republican, did meet with a Sensenbrenner aide; she came to Washington as part of a “fly-in” organized by the American Agri-Women and wanted to tell the lawmaker that the House-passed immigration bill he sponsored would harm her business.

On the way home, she says she and her daughter saw the Judiciary Committee chairman at the airport baggage claim. When they approached him, Ms. Frelk says, Mr. Sensenbrenner told her that “this is his free time and he didn’t want to be bothered” and walked away.

Sensenbrenner was probably returning from one of the various anti-immigration hearings he’s been chairing around the country over the last month – hearings he says are important because they allow lawmakers “to hear testimony from local people, as well as to talk with them informally.”

If Sensenbrenner really was interested in hearing from local people and talking informally about the need for comprehensive immigration reform, he’ll probably never get a better opportunity than when he’s picking up his luggage at the airport  – unfortunately, he apparently doesn’t like to be bothered in his free time by constituents who are directly impacted by his legislation.