As GOP leaders commit themselves to a serious overhaul of the nation’s immigration system, pundits have lauded the bipartisan group of eight senators spearheading a good-faith effort to find a comprehensive solution. But at least one Republican wants to put an end to that.
In a fundraising email to supporters, Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI) — a freshman congressman who won his seat after Rep. Thad McCotter (R-MI) abruptly resigned — bashed his own party’s support of immigration reform. Bentivolio called out Republicans in the Senate’s support as “a shameless political ploy to buy new voters” and proclaimed that he is one of the few conservatives who can stop the effort to “virtually dissolv[e] our border”:
“What you’re seeing here is a shameless political ploy to buy new voters. Democrats want the votes and Republicans the cheap labor … unfortunately the status quo will be maintained,” Bentivolio writes in the fundraising email. “Immigration reform shouldn’t be about buying off lawbreakers so they’ll consider becoming Republican. It’s about letting in people who want to become Americans and obey American laws. What kind of country will we be if we reward people for breaking the law?”[…]
“The Senate is already caving to grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants and congressmen like myself in the House will be the only thing between maintaing [sic.] the rule of law and virtually dissolving our border,” he wrote.
Whether or not it’s their stated effort, Republicans have been relatively up front about their desire to win over Latino and new immigrant voters. Just two weeks ago, on ABC’s “This Week,” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) made the case for including a path to citizenship in comprehensive immigration reform by saying, “We are losing dramatically the Hispanic vote, which we think should be ours for a variety of reasons, and we’ve got to understand that.”
But leaving aside the intentions of the Republican party, Bentovolio makes a good point in saying that only a few Republicans stand in the way of an immigration overhaul. Many members of Congress have expressed a desire to undertake such an effort, and a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants is favored by 51 percent of Americans.
Bentovolio previously made headlines for his career as a Santa Claus impersonator. As he stated in a court deposition, “I have a problem figuring out which one I really am, Santa Claus or Kerry Bentivolio,” he said. “All my life I have been told I’m Kerry Bentivolio, and now, I am a Santa Claus, so now I prefer to be Santa Claus.”