Speaking at a committee meeting on the Border Security and Enforcement Act of 2023, House Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) seized on a potential fracture in the Republican Party on border and immigration reform legislation Wednesday by showcasing comments from Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX).
Nadler said, “One of our Republican colleagues from Texas characterized that bill by saying, quote, ‘H.R. 29 does anything but secure the border, so guess what? That particular bill, it’s dead.’ Close quote.”
A source familiar with the matter told Breitbart News, however, that the Judiciary Committee “is confident that Republicans will have enough votes for this package to pass the House.”
The overhaul legislation Republicans are planning to pass out of the committee and bring to the floor is currently a 137-page document introduced by border hawks Reps. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and Tom McClintock (R-CA) to “provide for reform of the asylum system and protection of the border.”
The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), a group that advocates for lower immigration levels and controlled borders, backs the legislation.
CIS highlights that it would replace Title 42 with a “more powerful” expulsion justification for those who cross into the country illegally, curb the “humanitarian nightmare” that is the Biden administration rushing to process illegal unaccompanied minors into the country at the expense of safety and humaneness, tighten asylum laws, and mandate E-verify for all U.S. employers.
Gonzales, who represents a vast swath of the Texas border, has since January been the most vocal Republican opponent of the package, which Judiciary Republicans have worked behind the scenes for months to finetune ahead of its formal committee vote on Wednesday.
Nadler again zeroed in on this at the committee meeting, saying:
I would ask my Republican colleagues to heed the advice of one of their own, Rep. Tony Gonzales, who represents 42 percent of the U.S.-Mexico border and who said of these bills, “If they try to jam them through, they’re going to fail on the floor, so probably best to get it fixed ahead of time than see it go down and burning flames on the House floor.” Close quote.
One day prior to the meeting, Gonzales advocated at a Congressional Hispanic Conference press conference for his preferred border control measures. The Texas Republican, who serves as the conference co-chair, pushed for increasing U.S. Border Patrol agents’ pay, designating cartels as terrorist organizations, enhancing penalties for smugglers, and allocating more funding toward law enforcement.
And while his small group of Hispanic Republicans appeared as a united front at their press conference Tuesday, the same source who said the legislation would pass the full House also said Gonzales may be one of the few members who will vote against it despite its predicted passage.
Gonzales is a “lost cause,” the source said.