No surprise in either case. They’re both from the blue state of Illinois (albeit from reliably Republican districts) and have broken with conservatives before. Kinzinger opposed the “defund” effort last fall as a futile exercise and scrapped with Ted Cruz over Syria. Schock, a member of Kevin McCarthy’s team, once told a town-hall crowd that he expected Eric Cantor’s version of the DREAM Act would pass with bipartisan support. The significance of the clips isn’t that they were thought to hold different positions but that they’re willing to put these video pitches online, for easy circulation to the media, not long after Boehner told a group of donors that he was “hellbent” on passing some sort of amnesty this year. Makes me wonder if Republican leaders are starting to nudge their allies in the caucus to speak up for the cause, hoping that having young stars like Schock and Kinzinger out in front might make other pro-amnesty backbenchers find their courage and back Boehner too.
The statements from Illinois GOP Reps. Aaron Schock and Adam Kinzinger come in twin video testimonials that will be aired during an event this afternoon in Chicago with former House Speaker Dennis Hastert – a rally meant to push fellow Republicans toward an immigration overhaul. The videos were provided to POLITICO in advance of Tuesday’s event, hosted by the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition…
Schock, who has expressed support for a pathway to citizenship before, made the economic case for reforming the immigration system, arguing that various industries throughout Illinois – such as agriculture – face serious hurdles in trying to hire immigrant workers legally.
And though Kinzinger doesn’t explicitly endorse a shot at citizenship for those in the United States illegally, he called for a way to find a legal status for them.
Coincidentally, more than two weeks after Jeb Bush’s “act of love” comments and the ensuing uproar, Gang of Eight member Jeff Flake decided yesterday would be a fine time to issue a statement of support:
Truth is, I agree with Jeb, and I applaud him for having the guts to say it. Growing up here in Arizona, I’ve seen what motivates those who come here illegally. Sure, some come with the intent to do harm or simply to take advantage of our generosity. But many come to find work to feed their families. To lump everyone who crosses the border illegally into the same class is unfair and unproductive.
Recognizing motivations does not change the fact that we need a secure border. We need to give employers the tools to determine who is here illegally and who is not. We need more robust temporary worker programs that account for our labor needs. We need to reform our legal immigration program to better reflect our economic needs going forward, and we need a mechanism to deal with those who are already here illegally in a rational manner.
I hold no brief for Jeb Bush, but having such a prominent Republican speak so humanely and unapologetically about the motivations behind many of those who have come to reside in this country is good for all of us.
Jeb himself reportedly endorsed a “tough but fair path to legalized status” at an education summit yesterday in Flake’s home state of Arizona, which may or may not have been the catalyst for Flake’s statement. Maybe this is as simple as random Republican amnesty fans speaking up independently at the same time, but given the grief Boehner got for his “hellbent” comment last week, I wonder if the word went out that comprehensive reform is in trouble unless he starts getting some back-up, pronto. Here’s a start.