“That argument never made much sense to me,” he said. “Wouldn’t you pass a law if you knew it could even save one life? If you could pass a law to bring back somebody who was murdered, wouldn’t you do it?”
In the world of slippery-slope arguments, this one takes the cake, according to Walter Ewing, a senior researcher at the Immigration Policy Center.
“His logic can be used with any group,” he said. “If a middle-aged person hurts someone, do you then have to target all middle-aged people? You can always find one case of someone in a particular group committing a heinous crime. That’s not the point. The point is, does the group in general, are they prone to this activity? And that’s just not true of immigrants.”
But the odds of Barletta backing down on his fight against illegal immigration may be slim-to-none. For one, the issue raised his profile immensely as a mayor, and certainly played a large role in his 2010 election to Congress. There’s also the fact that after redistricting, he is serving in a securely conservative part of Pennsylvania. And it's not like he is all alone in opposing this Senate plan. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, who originally was part of the bipartisan team negotiating the package, came out against the deal.
“These guidelines contemplate a policy that will grant special benefits to illegal immigrants based on their unlawful presence in the country," Lee said in a statement. "Reforms to our complex and dysfunctional immigration system should not in any way favor those who came here illegally over the millions of applicants who seek to come here lawfully."
The deal has also been criticized by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a group dedicated to reducing the flow of immigrants, increasing enforcement, and making sure there is no guest-worker program. Julie Kirchner, the executive director of FAIR, told National Journal that she believes that eventually enough members of Congress can be cobbled together to keep this outlined legislation from becoming law. And Barletta, for his part, is willing to be front-and-center among the opposition.
“I know there are people out there who will call me names for taking this position; it’s happened before,” he said. “But there’s no question this is a national security issue that needs to be dealt with. We know there are people who want to harm and kill Americans, and we don’t know who is in this country. So why then are we simply going to grant pathway to citizenship?”
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