The Bush administration’s stance on immigration, already the cause of a political split with some Republicans in Congress, is beginning to erode lawmakers’ support for such presidential policy priorities as trade deals and extending the Patriot Act.
A handful of Republican lawmakers are citing the high rate of illegal immigration and the potential for an increase in foreign-worker visas as reasons to oppose the Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), which is expected to be considered by the House this month.
And last month, 10 House Republicans sent a letter to Mr. Bush telling him that they “would have grave reservations about supporting any extension” of the USA Patriot Act unless Mr. Bush first agrees to specific steps to boost the Border Patrol and immigration law enforcement inland.
Unless approved by Congress, 16 provisions from the 2001 law will expire at the end of this year.
“Asking for such advanced tools as roving wiretaps while ignoring basic border security is like asking for the installation of a state-of-the-art video surveillance system in a house without door locks—it simply doesn’t make sense,” the Republicans wrote.