Freedom Caucus chairman warns Ryan over immigration

Greg Nash

The leader of the House Freedom Caucus warned on Wednesday that Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) job could be in jeopardy if he doesn’t handle the debate over immigration to conservatives’ liking.

The Senate is attempting to conduct an open-ended floor debate on legislation that would both allow young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to stay in the country and enhance border security, although leaders have so far been unable to agree on which proposals should get votes.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the Freedom Caucus chairman, expressed frustration that the House wasn’t moving as effectively as the Senate. And members of the roughly 40-member conservative group are wary of more moderate proposals being floated in the upper chamber, some of which would go as far as giving the young immigrants a path to citizenship.

{mosads}”It is the defining moment for this Speaker. If he gets it wrong, it will have consequences for him. But it will also have consequences for the rest of the Republican Party,” Meadows said at an event on Capitol Hill moderated by the Heritage Foundation.

“I don’t think there’s really conversations right now that would involve a new Speaker. But there are certainly conversations that would involve new leadership,” Meadows added.

Conservatives are pushing for legislation authored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) that establishes new restrictions on legal immigration in exchange for establishing legal status for roughly 700,000 young immigrants who were permitted to work and go to school by the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

It would authorize funds for President Trump’s promised wall along the Mexican border, crack down on sanctuary cities, end family-based migration and eliminate the diversity visa lottery program.

House GOP leaders are whipping the Goodlatte bill this week to see if it has enough votes to pass.

Meadows said that GOP leaders should move more quickly on an immigration bill, especially given that the slower-moving Senate has already started debate.

“Anytime that the Senate can take up an immigration bill quicker than the House is a day that should defy history. I mean, the Senate is notorious for taking naps and not taking votes,” Meadows said.

Trump has proposed granting a path to citizenship for nearly 2 million young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children — which would go beyond the DACA population — in exchange for restricting family migration, authorizing funds for his border wall and ending the diversity visa lottery.

Tags Bob Goodlatte Donald Trump Mark Meadows Paul Ryan

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