Group: Angle among biggest obstacles to immigration reform

GOP Senate candidate Sharron Angle is one of the 10 biggest obstacles to immigration reform, according to a group pushing for an overhaul of the nation's immigration laws.
 
Angle is singled out as a roadblock to reform, along with eight other Republicans and one Democrat, on a “Top 10” list compiled by a political action committee.
 

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The PAC, called Immigrants’ List, describes itself as bipartisan PAC “dedicated to fair and meaningful immigration reform.” Most of the congressional candidates Immigrants’ List has endorsed are Democrats, though they have supported Republican Reps. Joseph Cao (La.) and Jeff Flake (Ariz.).
 
According to the PAC’s anti-immigration reform list, which was obtained by The Hill, Angle has “extremist views.”
 
The document states she has “advocated the use of a voter-id program to ‘safeguard the election process’ and opposed a scholarship program because it gave tuition money to legal residents who were not citizens.”
 
Angle is in a tight campaign against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), a proponent of immigration reform.
 
Two Arizona Republicans were included on the PAC’s Top 10 list, which was not ranked. 

Republican Senate contender J.D. Hayworth, who is facing Sen. John McCain in a GOP primary on Tuesday, is on the list, as is GOP Gov. Jan Brewer. The Obama administration is suing Brewer on her state’s new border security law, a battle that Brewer has vowed to fight all the way to the Supreme Court.
 
The only Democrat on the list is Rep. Gene Taylor (Miss.). Immigrants’ List maintains Taylor’s “anti-reform movement runs very deep. He has endorsed legislation to address birthright citizenship, has been endorsed by a leading anti-reform group Americans for Legal Immigration and has the highest score of any Democrat by the anti-reform group NumbersUSA.”
 
Former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), who is running for governor as an independent, also makes the Top 10. The 2008 presidential candidate is criticized by the PAC as a “leading voice of the nativist view that all immigrants must be culturally assimilated.”
 
Sen. Chuck Grassley (Iowa), who is slated to become the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee next year, is targeted by Immigrants’ List, which describes him as having been “at the forefront of the paranoia campaign against immigration for years.” Democrats are targeting Grassley’s seat this year, but Grassley is favored to win his sixth term.
 
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee, makes the list for supporting changing birthright citizenship laws.
 
Others on the list include Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.), Steve King (R-Iowa) and Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.).
 
Most of the spokespersons for those singled out by Immigrants’ List could not be immediately reached for comment.

Bilbray spokesman Fritz Chaleff said, "Painting the chairman of the Immigration Reform Caucus as anti-reform, when his top priority has been going after employers who exploit illegal immigrants for cheap labor through the bipartisan supported E-Verify Program (see H.R. 3308) and identifying those employers through their illegal payments (see H.R.3580), or trying to protect employers from fraud through updating our Social Security card (see Bilbray's support of H.R. 98), or even being supportive of a safer border with Mexico (as in Bilbray's support of S. 3273) says a lot about how some people define the word 'reform.'"

Grassley's office questioned the integrity of the list, saying that the Iowa Republican has a "record of support for legal immigration and the rule of law."

"This shadowy advocacy group has no credibility if it's targeting Grassley because of the amnesty-option memo discovered this summer at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The memo was there all along, written by immigration officials, and it clearly speaks for itself, if the time is taken to read it," Grassley spokesman Jill Kozeny wrote in an e-mail to The Hill.

Kozeny added that "Grassley shares the views of the majority of Americans in support of a national debate on immigration that starts with effective border control as a top priority.  Sen. Grassley also supports policies that respect legal immigrants who have followed the letter and spirit of the law, including programs, with safeguards against fraud, to meet the need for workers in areas where there are worker shortages." 

Brewer spokesman Paul Senseman said that Immigrants' List "makes the critical error of blurring the distinction between legal and illegal immigration into just 'immigration.'"

He added, "Illegal immigration creates additional burden for public education, law enforcement and social service. Even opponents of [Arizona's immigration law] have admitted that the federal government has failed us at the border."

Smith said that he, and other Republicans, are "pro-immigration and immigration reform, at least the right kind."

In a statement, Smith said, "Immigration reform means enforcing our immigration laws, securing our border and cracking down on employers who hire illegal immigrants. Amnesty is not reform -- it is rewarding those who have broken our laws, come here illegally and taken much-needed jobs from out-of-work Americans. And it only encourages more illegal immigration."


This story was updated at 5:45 p.m. and 9:21 p.m.