Immigration Reform 2013: Meet the Conservatives Doing Their Worst to Destroy It


Although the trio of scandals that have rocked the Obama administration has engulfed the news media, another one of President Barack Obama's legislative priorities is under attack by conservatives around the United States. Immigration reform, considered by many one of the possible issues for which compromise could be reached between the Republican and Democratic parties, is coming under attack by conservative activists.

A coalition of Tea Party Activists, conservative media figures, and longtime conservative activists hope to derail the entire immigration reform effort. Although quite loud on the airwaves, it remains to be seen if they will get any airtime and traction with other conservatives.

A major component of this conservative coalition is conservative media pundits. Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review, Erick Erickson, editor of the influential conservative blog RedState, talk radio hosts Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin, and conservative columnist Michelle Malkin, have signed an open letter to Congress called "The Wrong Way to Reform Immigration."

The letter says, “No matter how well-intentioned, the Schumer-Rubio bill suffers from fundamental design flaws that make it unsalvageable. Many of us support various parts of the legislation, but the overall package is so unsatisfactory that the Senate would do better to start over from scratch.”

Various other conservative organizations also signed the letter. Most notable was the amount of Tea Party organization that were signatories; they spanned over 25 states. Most notable was former Congressman Allen West, who was a Tea Party firebrand in Congress and was spoken of in some Tea Party circles as a potential candidate for president in the future. He did not win reelection in 2012 and was hired as a Fox News contributor in May.

The whole letter originated from Eagle Forum president Phyllis Schlafly and was circulated among conservative activists, reaching over 150 signatures. The hope of such conservative activists is to achieve a repeat of 2007 anti-immigration reform campaign that saw former President George W. Bush's immigration reform proposal go down in flames. Back then conservative media worked to flood Republican members of Congress with calls from listeners, crashing the telephone switchboard in Congress several times during the debate.

But it may not be such an easy task. The Republican Party has not opposed the bill and certain members such as Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) have put their full support behind it. Beyond politicians, a host of other conservative activists have thrown their weight behind supporting the bill. 31 conservative leaders, including Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith and Freedom coalition, and Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, all signed a statement supporting the bill.

Conservatives appeared prepped to fight with each other over this piece of legislation as they come together for the various scandals that have emerged over the past weeks. The only question is if the conservative opposition is large enough to take on the powerful pro-immigration reform group of conservatives that has emerged since 2007.