WASHINGTON – A leading Tea Party activist says members of the movement are upset that federal lawmakers may be about to grant amnesty to millions more illegal immigrants. They're also unhappy Congress may well fail to address the core issues that allow so many illegal immigrants into the United States.
Jenny Beth Martin of the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund said tea partiers are asking her organization, "Why is Congress is putting the cart before the horse?'"
"Virtually every single proposal under consideration grants some sort of amnesty, whether it's a legal status or citizenship to so-called 'Dreamers,' " she explained during a Wednesday media call.
"They're providing this legal status for them, but they're putting into the future border security, funding for the wall, talking about later implementing changes to chain migration, possibly doing things with the entry/exit visa system — all of that to come at a future date," she continued.
"We have gone through this before with President Reagan, and we have been suffering the consequences from it since then. And our supporters are asking Congress to stop doing this and instead take care of addressing the problems with immigration first," Martin summed up. "Prove to us you are worthy of our trust and then come back and talk to us about how we deal with people who enter this country illegally."
During the same call, NumbersUSA official Chris Chmielenski blasted most proposals before Congress.
But he said his group, which supports tough immigration reforms, is asking its 9 million activist-supporters across the country to push Congress for one bill: HR 4760, Securing America's Future Act (SAFE), sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).
Chmielenski said it's the first time in its 22-year history his organization has ever backed a bill that includes any form of amnesty, "but it limits the amnesty to only the 690,000 current DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients."
"We believe on balance it benefits American workers and communities," he explained, "ending chain migration immediately, ending the visa lottery, requiring all employers to use E-Verify, which we think is extremely important. That turns off the jobs magnet which drives so many folks to come to the country illegally in the first place."
Also on the media call was Ken Blackwell, a former US ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission.
He, too, praised the SAFE legislation.
"It would implement a family migration policy that allows immigrants to sponsor their spouses and minor children while immediately eliminating extended chains," Blackwell stated. "It would also eliminate the unfair visa lottery, which raffles off 55,000 American jobs annually to foreign workers."
Blackwell especially likes the fact that HR 4760 would make it illegal for municipalities to declare themselves sanctuary cities.
"I would underscore as a former mayor that sanctuary cities are a gift to lawlessness," he said.
Martin pointed out that President Donald Trump appears to be ready to accept amnesty for a far larger number of illegal immigrants than his tough rhetoric during the presidential campaign suggested.
"There is a sense of frustration among a lot of people who supported President Trump from the very beginning of his campaign and are very concerned about what we're seeing unfold this week and coming weeks regarding immigration," she said.
"They're upset. They feel a bit betrayed," the Tea Party activist summed up. "And they don't feel President Trump is keeping his promise on this particular issue."
Blackwell added there's also frustration because of "the negative economic impacts for American workers when illegal immigrants are looked at with a blind eye."