Conservatives Concerned About Immigration

More than 60 leaders sign letter pushing Republicans in Senate to kill bill

Senate Judiciary Committee markup immigration reform legislation / AP
May 21, 2013

A coalition of over 60 prominent conservative leaders has "serious concerns" about the proposed Senate immigration reform legislation, according to a letter that will be released on Tuesday.

A wide range of right-leaning opinion-makers, including National Review editor Rich Lowry, conservative commentator Michelle Malkin, and Newsweek contributing editor David Frum signed the open letter, which was organized by the Eagle Forum.

The coalition called the proposed law "bloated and unwieldy along the lines of Obamacare or Dodd-Frank," and cited concerns about its potential impact on U.S. job seekers and national security.

"Reforming our immigration system is an important priority. But S.744 is such a defective measure that it would do more harm than good," wrote the coalition. "We urge you to vote against it and against any cloture vote to bring up the bill. Only then can a constructive, measured debate take place on how to improve America's immigration policy."

Dozens of local activist leaders also signed onto the letter.

The letter appears to be a rejoinder to the one sent on May 8 by another coalition of prominent conservatives, which called the Senate legislation "an important starting point" for reforming the immigration system, and called on Republicans and Democrats to work together to improve the bill."

"This legislation is not perfect. We do not expect the bill without amendments to pass, and we encourage good-faith amendments to improve the legislation," the coalition wrote. "We ask that conservatives in the Senate work to improve the legislation. America needs immigration reform. As the Democrats run the Senate, the ball is in their court. They can work with conservatives to improve the legislation to foster growth and security and help be a part of solving the problem. Or they can undermine it, by putting partisan politics over sound public policy."

The May 8 letter was organized by the American Conservative Union and signatories included Americans for Tax Reform’s Grover Norquist, the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s Ralph Reed, and former deputy Pentagon chief Paul Wolfowitz.

The Senate Judiciary Committee markup of the legislation will continue on Tuesday and is expected to wrap up later this week.