Conservative Leaders Unite Against Discharge Petition in House for ‘Amnesty’

Katherine Rohloff /

As Congress returns from its Memorial Day recess, 70 prominent conservative activists have joined forces in opposing a discharge petition being pushed by “liberal Republicans” in the House to force a debate and votes on immigration reform measures that opponents say amount to “amnesty.”

The Conservative Action Project on Monday issued a statement in which it urged Congress and the president “to reject any attempt to give amnesty to immigrants who came here illegally or have overstayed their visas.”

“We urge Republican leaders and members of the House and Senate to keep their campaign promises and continue to stand with the overwhelming majority of the American people for the rule of law and for an immigration system that treats legal immigrants with respect and dignity.”

Led by Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., the discharge petition bid requires the signatures of a majority of members of the House—at least 218—to compel the Republican leadership of the House to bring its immigration-related legislation to the floor for debate and a vote. As of Tuesday, the petition had been signed by 213 members. Twenty-three centrist and liberal Republicans have been joined by all but three of the 193 House Democrats.

By signing what amounts to a counter-petition, the 70 conservative leaders say they are fighting to protect the “will of the voters” and keep the nation’s borders strong.

Tim Chapman, executive director of Heritage Action for America, was among the activists who signed the Conservative Action Project petition.

“[I signed the petition because] one of the things that makes America so attractive to immigrants around the world is an established rule of law that provides for peace, prosperity, and civil society flourishing,” said Chapman. “Blanket amnesty proposals undermine the rule of law and are unfair to the immigrants who seek to enter our country legally by respecting our laws.”

Amapola Hansberger, president of Legal Immigrants for America, also signed the petition, which says the U.S. “cannot continue to prosper without enforceable borders, the rule of law that applies equally to all, and an enforceable immigration system.”

She told The Daily Signal that being a legal immigrant from Central America gives her an added perspective in speaking out on “this controversial issue” that others do not have.

“I came to the United States legally, and I was upset that illegal immigrants were getting free health care, etc., while other people [in the United States] needed help,” said Hansberger, who escaped Nicaragua in 1964 to become a U.S. citizen. “I am a legal immigrant and a survivor of communism, and I did not expect help, and that’s why I support [the anti-amnesty] petition.”