A number of the most conservative skeptics of two proposed trade bills in the House of Representatives say that there is no real evidence to suggest that the legislation in the bills uses language that would enable the advancement of comprehensive immigration reform. On Wednesday, at the monthly Conversations with Conservatives meeting on Capitol Hill, Republican representatives Raul Labrador and Tim Huelskamp were among those who stated that while they remained on the fence when it came to the legislation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, they did not believe that the legislation contained anything that would help to sneak into law the kind of immigration reform championed by President Obama.
The lawmakers’ views are thus quite different to the view of Alabama senator Jeff Sessions, the primary Republican opponent of the bills in the Senate, and are in agreement with those of the White House and Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Last month Ryan derided the idea that the trade legislation somehow enabled comprehensive immigration reform as “the latest urban legend”, a sentiment backed up by White House press secretary Josh Earnest.
“We have not found any evidence there is something in the deal that mentions immigration,” Labrador says. Huelskamp agrees, noting that while the legislation does refer to US visas used for business purposes, there is nothing that deals with immigration.