By Julia Hahn
May 26, 2016
One day prior to Donald Trump formally clinching the GOP nomination, House Speaker Paul Ryan launched a new line of attack against the Party’s standard bearer selected by GOP voters.
During a Wednesday meeting with reporters on Capitol Hill, the House Speaker, once again, disavowed Trump’s campaign pledge to enforce U.S. immigration law.
Ryan also indicated that he would not include Trump’s signature policy platforms on trade or immigration in the House GOP 2017 policy agenda.
As the Washington Post reported:
Ryan was pressed on whether the House was preparing plans for the mass deportation of illegal immigrants — a key plank of Trump’s platform. Ryan, who opposes mass deportation and supports a path to legal status for the undocumented, noted that immigration is not part of the agenda project…
‘Obviously, securing the border is part of national security, we believe,’ he [Ryan] said. ‘But I’ve made my view on [mass deportation] pretty darn clear, and I’ll just leave it at that.’
Indeed, Ryan not only opposes enforcing immigration law and deporting illegal migrants, but Ryan also has a long history of fighting to give illegal migrants access to social services paid for by U.S. taxpayers.
As John Heilemann reported in 1996, “Ryan was the staffer who had aided Jack Kemp and William Bennett in their crusade against [California’s] Proposition 187.” Prop 187 was a popular ballot initiative, which would have prevented illegal aliens from accessing public benefits paid for by U.S. taxpayers. Shortly after the initiative was passed overwhelmingly by California voters, a federal judge blocked it. As The Weekly Standard’s Fred Barnes noted, Ryan was so adamantly opposed to the then-bipartisan effort to crack down on immigration, that he penned a 4,000-word rebuttal to the National Review, which supported California’s Proposition 187.
More recently, in 2013 Ryan worked with Democratic Sen. Patty Murray to eliminate federal budget caps while slashing veterans’ pensions. When Sen. Jeff Sessions tried to restore veterans’ pensions by cutting benefits for illegal aliens, Ryan opposed the effort.
Polling shows that by a 2-1 margin, voters believe that illegal immigrants should be encouraged to return home by shutting off their access to U.S. jobs and welfare.
The Washington Post reported that “issues like trade and immigration that were cleaving the presidential field months ago were deliberated left out of the agenda project, in lieu of issues like health care, national security and regulation where GOP unity is easier to find.”
However, while these issues certainly separate Paul Ryan and Party donors from Donald Trump, the Republican electorate as a whole seems fairly united on these issues.
According to Pew polling data, 92% of the GOP electorate — and 83% of the American electorate as a whole — wants to see immigration levels frozen or reduced. By contrast, Ryan represents only a minuscule 7% of the GOP electorate that wants to expand migration rates. Indeed, Ryan has a two-decade long history of pushing open borders policies — including derailing the bipartisan immigration curbs during the mid-90s inspired by Civil Rights leader and late Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Jordan.
“Paul Ryan is a part of the group that created the massive immigration problem facing the nation today,” NumbersUSA President Roy Beck told Breitbart. In fact, Beck says that today “there are an additional 10 million immigrants in the country” than there otherwise would be “as a direct result” of Ryan’s efforts to thwart legislation that would curb migration.
Similarly on the issue of trade, Pew found that only a minuscule 11 percent of Republican voters think so-called “free trade” will raise wages. By a nearly 5-to-1 margin, Republican voters believe that so-called “free trade” depresses wages, rather than increases wages. By greater than a 3-to-1 margin, Republican voters believe “free trade” will kill jobs, not create them.
As Breitbart News has previously reported, earlier this year prior to the unveiling of Ryan’s “bold pro-growth agenda,” Senator Sessions and Congressman Dave Brat “warned Republicans against pursuing the agenda to which Paul Ryan seems wedded.”
In a “Dear Colleague” letter that was hand-delivered to every Republican Congressional office, Sessions and Brat advised their colleagues against continuing to ignore the will of the electorate in favor of pursuing the donor class’s agenda on immigration. The two explained that immigration is “the one policy that most separates the views of the GOP’s voters from the party’s biggest donors.” The letter went on:
If we want to lay out a ‘bold, conservative agenda,’ and demonstrate that we serve the voters—and not the special interests—we should begin by advancing bills to reduce out-of-control immigration. That is the reform our voters want, and that is what we must deliver. Such action will not only bolster our existing electorate, but draw millions of new voters to our party from the ranks of independents and disaffected Democrats. Polling shows that across all parties and backgrounds, voters agree by a nearly 10:1 margin that companies should raise wages instead of bringing new foreign labor. This is the right policy, and the winning strategy.
Ryan, however, does not seem to agree with this policy supported by the American electorate. In 2013, Ryan explained that low-skilled foreign labor is a great way to help employers keep wages low. In a post featured on Ryan’s website entitled, “Paul Ryan: Immigrants ‘Bring Labor to Our Economy So Jobs Can Get Done,’” Ryan says that low-skilled laborers “bring labor to our economy so jobs can get done. The dairy farmers in western Wisconsin are having a hard time finding anyone to help them produce their products.” Ryan dismissed the argument that employers ought to “just raise wages enough to attract people.” Ryan warned that if “you raise wages too much in certain industries, then you’ll get rid of those industries.”
This was a similar justification to one Ryan gave when pushing for the controversial expansion of the low-skilled visa program entailed in his omnibus spending bill— Ryan warned that without this large increase in foreign labor, American companies would be forced to shut their doors.
Despite the overwhelming desire of the American electorate—and Republican voters in particular—to curb migration, Sessions and Brat write that “party elites continue pushing for more [immigration]—with no recognition of, let alone concern for, its impact on workers… How can it be possible that the demands of 92 percent of our electorate [who oppose immigration growth] are not merely ignored, but sabotaged?”