Two Republicans drop out of House ‘Group of Seven’ immigration talks

September 20, 2013
Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Tex.). (washingtonpost.com)

And then there were five.

Two Republican members of the bipartisan House "Group of Seven" that is working on plans to overhaul the nation's immigration laws are leaving the group, saying that they can no longer trust President Obama to enforce whatever new immigration laws Congress might eventually approve.

Reps. John Carter (R-Texas) and Sam Johnson (R-Texas) said in a joint statement Friday that despite working on the issue for four years, "we have reached a tipping point and can no longer continue working on a broad approach to immigration."

"The problem is politics," they said, citing the president's support for the Affordable Care Act and for what they said was his continued disregard of the Constitution "to advance his political agenda."

“If past actions are the best indicators of future behavior; we know that any measure depending on the president’s enforcement will not be faithfully executed. It would be gravely irresponsible to further empower this administration by granting them additional authority or discretion with a new immigration system," they said. "The bottom line is – the American people do not trust the President to enforce laws, and we don’t either."

The pair said they are still committed to working on immigration reform and plan to support plans being worked on by House Republicans.

Rep. John Carter (R-Tex.). (washingtonpost.com)

The decision is a bit of surprise, but also doesn't have much practical effect. The immigration debate in the House is being steered entirely by top GOP leaders and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who have not embraced the group's ideas on immigration.

And the departure of the two Lone Star State Republicans means that a group that started with eight lawmakers -- four Republicans and four Democrats -- is down to five. Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) left the group in June and now there's only one Republican left, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.). The Democratic members are Reps. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and John Yarmuth (D-Ky.).

Follow Ed O'Keefe on Twitter: @edatpost

Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.
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