By Jordain Carney
January 13, 2016
A pair of Republicans are pushing their colleagues to take a tougher stance on immigration as they gather for a joint GOP policy retreat.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) sent a letter to Republican lawmakers, suggesting that politicians are out of touch with American voters on the issue.
"If we want to lay out a ‘bold, conservative agenda,’ and demonstrate that we serve the voters ... we should begin by advancing bills to reduce out-of-control immigration," they wrote in the letter, which was released Wednesday.
The two argue that immigration is "the one policy that most separates the views of the GOP's voters from the party's biggest donors" and impacts a myriad of issues from jobs to crime and national security.
Sessions and Brat point to rising immigration levels, reports that the number of Americans not working has hit a record level and a poll from the Pew Research Center that found that almost half of Americans want immigration to decrease as evidence that the Republicans need to take a different path.
While only 7 percent of Republican voters want immigration to increase, according to Pew, Sessions and Brat argue that "party elites continue pushing for more — with no recognition of, let alone concern for, its impact on workers."
"Instead, we should correctly define the words ‘immigration reform’ to refer exclusively to the policies our voters — and all voters — can cheer and celebrate," they added.
The letter isn't the first time the two Republicans have voiced concern about their party's stance on immigration.
Brat defeated then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) in a closely watched primary upset. The candidate made Cantor's immigration stance a key pillar of his campaign, suggesting Cantor supported amnesty for undocumented immigrants.
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