- The Washington Times - Friday, August 2, 2013

Tea party groups on Friday warned House Republicans they fear GOP leaders are preparing to “pull a bait and switch” that will ultimately allow a broad immigration bill pass that legalizes illegal immigrants.

The 75 signers, which include major tea party and conservative organizations, said they worry House Republican leaders will try to pass a narrow, conservative immigration bill but will then agree to negotiate with the Senate and, in the end, will accept the Senate’s broader bill — including what the groups termed an “amnesty” for illegal immigrants.

The groups urged lawmakers to tell GOP leaders not to enter into those negotiations with the Senate.

“We are calling on each member of the House of Representatives to take immediate action to halt the Senate’s ill-conceived amnesty bill,” wrote the groups.

The letter is in part because it comes just a few days after nearly 100 top Republican donors and former Bush administration officials penned their own letter urging House Republicans to pass a bill that does include legalization.

“Doing nothing is de facto amnesty. We need to take control of whom we let in our country and we need to make sure everybody plays by the same rules,” said the donors, led by Carlos Gutierrez, who was secretary of the Commerce Department in the Bush administration and headed President George W. Bush’s efforts to negotiate an immigration bill in 2007.

The two letters underscore the emerging split within the GOP’s voter base.

Top party officials say the GOP’s political future depends on embracing immigrants, while rank-and-file lawmakers say legalizing illegal immigrants and bringing in new guest-workers will be bad for Americans’ wages.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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