PBS aired a Frontline documentary this week on the 2014 attempt to get an amnesty bill through the House of Representatives. The star was Luis Gutierrez, the most strident amnesty pusher on Capitol Hill, whom the filmmakers followed over the entire course of the year.
But the other star was Paul Ryan.
The filmmakers wanted to follow him around too but, in the narrator’s words, “Ryan’s office wanted to stay under the radar.” Watch the film and you can see why.
The Republican that Gutierrez is most frequently shown conferring with is Mario Diaz-Balart, but Ryan is invoked, in almost every scene, as the GOP driving force behind the amnesty push.
The movie starts with Gutierrez praising Ryan for being a good loser:
He didn’t see me in the gym two weeks after the election and say “god, you did everything you could, Luis, to stop me from being vice president.” That’s not what he said to me. You know what he said to me? He said “you’re a Catholic, I’m a Catholic, we cannot have a permanent underclass of Americans exploited in America.”
No wonder Gutierrez has endorsed Ryan for the Speakership.
Referring to the group of House members trying to put together an amnesty bill, the narrator said: “They’re going to need an ally. That person is Paul Ryan.…Gutierrez knows Ryan well enough to ask him to take the lead in writing a Republican immigration bill.”
And here’s Gutierrez, speaking to hard-left amnesty-pusher Frank Sharry:
So my last conversation with him I was very clear, “Paul, you’ve got to put together a proposal. Now here’s a group of things that are my must-haves, you’ve got to put the group together, you’ve got to do this.” And he’s, they’re doing it. I gave him enough hope within a framework that “if you do these things, I can be your partner. So go do it.”
And he did go do it.
Ryan is at the center of the entire film. Haley Barbour, meeting with Boehner’s amnesty staffer Becky Tallent, says he’s going to meet with Ryan and wants to talk to her about what to say. Later, the narrator describes Boehner telling Ryan and Diaz-Balart to start lining up commitments for their amnesty/immigration-surge bill.
As Obama’s decision to issue his unilateral, lawless amnesty decrees approached, the narrators observe that: “Obama’s been holding off on lowing deportations on his own hoping Diaz-Balart and Ryan would succeed with legislation. But outside pressure is reaching crisis level.”
And again: “Very soon after Congressman Gutierrez went to the White House [where Obama said he’d decree an amnesty if there was no Republican bill introduced by July 4], the president and Speaker Boehner talked, and Paul Ryan and Mario Diaz-Balart got the word from the Speaker: Start that whip count again.”
The whip count was successful. As the narrator says: “After months of work and countless one-one conversations, Paul Ryan and Mario Diaz-Balart have carefully crafted a bill they know the majority of Republicans can agree on. They have the votes.” Then Dave Brat defeats Eric Cantor in the primary, and things fall apart. You can see the disappointment in Gutierrez’s office after Cantor’s loss; his chief of staff says it feels like “you were buried under bricks.”
The narrator: “In just about a week, 7,212 Republican primary voters in Eric Cantor’s congressional district and non-stop media coverage of a ‘border invasion’ told Republican House members all they needed to know. The whip count commitments evaporated. That pretty much finished off chances for an immigration bill. And only a couple of dozen people knew how close it had come.”
One of those people is Paul Ryan, who will likely be in charge of the House of Representatives soon. I look forward to the documentary on his decisive role in Hillary’s 2017 amnesty push.
(The program, called “Immigration Battle,” will be repeated late at night over the weekend by the DC PBS station; check your local listings.)