Group seeking to curb immigration goes after Ryan

Group seeking to curb immigration goes after Ryan
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A leading advocate of tighter restrictions on immigration has launched a campaign to prevent Rep. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanOn The Trail: Retirements offer window into House Democratic mood Stopping the next insurrection Former Sen. Bob Dole dies at 98 MORE (R-Wis.) from assuming the Speakership.

NumbersUSA, which advocates for tougher laws governing both legal and illegal immigration, is warning that Ryan's past embrace of certain legalization benefits for people in the country illegally — benefits critics deem "amnesty" — makes him unfit for the post.

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In an email alert, NumbersUSA President Roy Beck urged the group's members to bombard House lawmakers with phone calls opposing Ryan's bid to replace outgoing Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDemocrats eager to fill power vacuum after Pelosi exit Stopping the next insurrection Biden, lawmakers mourn Harry Reid MORE (R-Ohio).

The campaign is an indication that at least some outside groups have little faith in Ryan's vow this week that he would not move any immigration reforms as Speaker that aren't supported by a majority of Republicans.
 
“I’m convinced that the only thing that will keep the most powerful and committed Republican House amnesty leader out of the chair of the Speaker of the House is an unrelenting barrage of phone calls from our NumbersUSA Network,” Beck said Thursday in a statement.

Ryan's record on immigration reform is mixed.

In 2010, for instance, he joined most Republicans in voting against the DREAM Act, which would have halted deportations for qualified undocumented immigrants brought to the country as kids. But he has also supported benefits for some illegal immigrants, such as legalizing farmworkers and giving in-state tuition to students.

Ryan's openness to reform has raised concerns among Capitol Hill conservatives that he would push — or at least allow — comprehensive immigration reform like what passed in the Senate in 2013 to reach the House floor.

The congressman addressed those concerns in a meeting with the Freedom Caucus on Wednesday, when he told the conservative group that he won't consider any immigration bills while President Obama remained in office. Looking beyond Obama's tenure, he also vowed not to move any reform proposals that lack the backing of a majority of the majority party, an unofficial threshold known as the Hastert Rule.

Democrats pounced, accusing Republicans of dereliction for acknowledging the failures of the immigration system without trying to fix them.

The office of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) sent an email Thursday highlighting Ryan's vows to the Freedom Caucus and accusing the Republicans of failing to govern.

"If you want to lead radical House Republicans, here’s the sad reality: you have to promise to stonewall commonsense immigration reform," Pelosi's office said.

Beck has other criticisms for Ryan, noting that the Wisconsin Republican launched his Washington career at the side of reform-minded Republicans.

“Ryan is ideologically committed to amnesty and wide-open foreign-labor importation," Beck said.

The GOP vote to nominate a Speaker is scheduled for Oct. 28, and a vote of the full House expected on the floor the following day.

- This story was updated at 5:33 p.m. Scott Wong contributed.