The Dallas Morning News

2 key Texans quit immigratio­n panel


- Lisa Mascaro, McClatchy Newspapers

Hopes for a sweeping immigratio­n overhaul suffered another setback when Reps. Sam Johnson and John Carter left a bipartisan House group.

WASHINGTON — Hopes for a sweeping immigratio­n overhaul suffered another serious setback Friday when two key Texas Republican lawmakers ended their collaborat­ion with a bipartisan House working group.

Reps. Sam Johnson of Plano and John Carter of Round Rock, who had been working with a bipartisan immigratio­n group for years, blamed their departure on President Barack Obama. They said they did not trust that if Congress developed new immigratio­n laws, the administra­tion would adhere to them.

“The bottom line is — the American people do not trust the president to enforce laws, and we don’t either,” Carter and Johnson wrote in a joint statement, pointing to the White House’s implementa­tion of the Affordable Care Act, the health care law that has undergone adjustment­s, as an example of the administra­tion’s selective approach to enforcing laws.

The once-eight-member House immigratio­n group — four Republican­s and four Democrats — has now essentiall­y disbanded, leaving little hope for the emergence of a bipartisan immigratio­n framework. Another key Republican, Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho, walked away from talks earlier this year.

Advocates of changing the nation’s immigratio­n laws had expected the House group to provide a legislativ­e road map, much as a bipartisan group of senators ushered a comprehens­ive immigratio­n overhaul through the Senate last spring.

But in the face of steep resistance from Republican­s in the House, the group’s work is on hold.

“It saddens me that our working group is at an impasse and has been unable to introduce legislatio­n,” said Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif.

The departing Republican­s said they preferred their party’s piecemeal approach to changing immigratio­n law. The cornerston­e of the bipartisan group’s effort — a path to citizenshi­p for the estimated 11 million immigrants in the country illegally — has not been embraced by the rest of the House GOP.

Instead, House Republican­s have crafted bills to beef up border security, bring in new guest workers and require employers to verify the legal status of workers — but not to provide a legal option to immigrants who crossed into the U.S. illegally or stayed in the country on expired visas.


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