GOP Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) expressed cynicism on Monday toward an immigration plan that included a path to citizenship for the country’s 11 million undocumented immigrants.
“People make a mistake when they think all Hispanics want is to see an amnesty program, and then they’re going to love Republicans again,” Burgess told CNN host Soledad O’Brien and her panelists, adding that immigration reform did not benefit another Texas Republican, George H.W. Bush, in 1988.
“It’s that sort of activity that, forgive me, makes me a little bit cynical,” said Burgess.
Burgess also criticized the release of the White House’s “Plan B” immigration proposal, which would call for, among other things, the creation of a “Lawful Prospective Immigrant” visa that would put qualified applicants on an 8-year path to U.S. residency. President Barack Obama promised earlier this year to deliver his own set of immigration mandates if he felt lawmakers were not moving quickly enough on that issue.
Obama’s proposal, Burgess said, was similar to a plan Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) worked on in 2007, but it was the visa feature that doomed it to failure.
“No one believes that the United States Congress can do something this complicated competently,” Burgess said. “So for it to be pushed out into center stage like this by the president … He’s kind of got a history of ignoring people with whom he should be working, constituencies with whom he should be working.”
“But everyone’s always — many times, on this program — complaining that the president doesn’t show leadership,” O’Brien interjected. “That he’s not stepping out with a plan. ‘Have him do something.’ I mean, literally, specifically, on immigration, I’ve heard that a dozen times. And now when he finally has a plan that’s leaked, and maybe it was a real leak, or maybe it was a ‘fake leak,’ everyone’s now mad that he leaked some plan that, as you say, harkens back to 2007.”
Burgess concurred with O’Brien that the release of “Plan B” was likely on purpose, saying, “nothing in Washington happens by accident,” but again knocked Obama for not including others in his decision-making, namely the bipartisan “Group of 8” of McCain and seven other senators, which has issued its own immigration proposal.
“You’ve got eight senators working in a bipartisan fashion on something,” he said. “Why not huddle with them and see what you can work on collaboratively rather than this go it alone approach?”
Watch Burgess discuss the latest round of immigration proposals with O’Brien and her panel, as aired Monday on CNN, below.