With some Democrats and Republicans alike viewing the border-crisis bills as a possible vehicle to pass comprehensive immigration legislation, the Republican members of the Gang of Eight announced their opposition to such a maneuver.
“Any legislation considered this year must be focused exclusively on addressing the current crisis, halting the flow of unaccompanied children crossing the border and preventing future waves from making the dangerous journey north,” Senators Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), John McCain (R. Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), and Jeff Flake (R., Ariz.) said in a joint statement.
The Thursday-afternoon statement came after House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D. Calif.) suggested that “the most important thing that we can do to use this crisis as an opportunity is to pass comprehensive immigration reform.”
Even before Pelosi’s remarks, congressional immigration hawks had already expressed their concern that, if the Senate and the House ended up negotiating about the border crisis in a conference committee, the final product would include substantial parts of the “Gang of Eight” bill.
“I don’t want to see a vehicle coming out of the House that gives Harry Reid a chance to attach the Gang of Eight language to it and then send it back to the House and say, ‘We have all of these kids that are down here pouring into the United States, and we can’t fix that unless you first pass amnesty,’” Representative Steve King (R., Iowa) told National Review Online to explain why he had not introduced a bill on the issue.