The Trump administration’s top legal immigration official thinks the lack of action by Congress on immigration reform is the fault of former House Speaker Paul Ryan.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services acting Director Ken Cuccinelli said the former Wisconsin lawmaker “submarined” an immigration bill sponsored by former Republican Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte which would have eased up on deportation of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients and helped with legal immigration.
“And let’s not forget to be bipartisan in our criticism,” Cuccinelli said Thursday at a Texas Public Policy Foundation panel discussion.
“When Paul Ryan was the Speaker, Paul Ryan submarined the best opportunity we had legislatively with the Goodlatte bill, which in the Judiciary Committee came through. And not enough people will challenge their own leadership in the GOP to beat them down when they are wrong,” the former Virginia attorney general added.
(Video: YouTube/Texas Public Policy Foundation)
In June 2018, Republican leadership with Ryan at the helm backed a compromise bill giving DREAMers a path to citizenship, rejecting the Goodlatte legislation as 41 Republicans joined Democrats to vote against the measure. But even that bill failed to gain the support it needed.
“That is just not a good strategy and I complained about it at the time. I said ‘You’ve got to narrow this down to one bill and then work really hard to get the members to vote for that one bill,’” Goodlatte, who retired from Congress in 2018, said in December.
Cuccinelli pointed to the business community for the opposition of Republican moderates to the Goodlatte bill.
“We had leadership there that defended the status quo,” said Cuccinelli. “They were the Chamber of Commerce Congress.”
“They wanted illegal immigration — and this is not just left and right, there’s plenty of people who are often associated with the right, although I don’t know what the Chamber of Commerce is,” he added.
He also contended that Democrats are unwilling to work with their Republican colleagues on this issue because they do not want any immigration concessions they make to be seen as giving Trump a victory.
Jon Baselice, the executive director of immigration policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce pushed back on Cuccinelli’s comments, saying “immigration reform has been a long-standing priority for the Chamber and the broad business community.”
“We believe common-sense immigration reform is the best way to stop illegal immigration,” Baselice added.
Cuccinelli recently set off a wave of backlash from progressives when he spoke about the poem on the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal. The staunch supporter of President Trump’s immigration agenda doubled down on his contention that the iconic poem was about “people coming from Europe.”
His comments on Ryan Thursday at the conservative think tank’s panel discussion had Twitter users nodding in agreement.
Tell us something we don’t know.
— PapaAin’tSoft (@BigDaddy7110) August 23, 2019
This is true… And obvious. Ryan was a disaster.
— Paulette (@divingnomad) August 23, 2019
Paul Ryan was a joke of a Speaker and a Republican. He accomplished very little. He has no guts. No spine and unfortunately there are more like him in Congress.
— Silcy (@Silc_nj) August 23, 2019
Don’t mess with the Cuccinelli
— bulldogbytes (@daltonposse) August 23, 2019
Imagine my surprise. You can’t… I’m not surprised in the least.
What a tool that boy was!
— Deb– I’m Shadow What?? (@debster7301) August 23, 2019
Yup, @USCISCuccinelli is right!!
— Ruben D. Sanchez Jr (@rdsanchezjr) August 22, 2019
Paul Ryan was worse than John Boehner. And that ain’t saying much.
— Fred Doucette (@M2_MeasureTwice) August 22, 2019
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