Arizona Senator Jon Kyl met with the North Tempe Tea Party on June 18 and revealed some Washington inside baseball — a fact that we’ve known all along. At 3:40 in the video below, Kyl remarked, “Here’s what the President said, ‘The problem is if we secure the border, then you all won’t have any reason to support comprehensive immigration reform’ [audible gasp from audience]. In other words, they’re holding it hostage. They don’t want to secure the border unless and until it is combined with comprehensive immigration reform.
“I explained, you and I, Mr. President, have an obligation to secure the border. That’s an obligation; it also has potentially positive benefits. You don’t have to have comprehensive reform to secure the border, but you have to secure the border to get comprehensive reform… That’s why it isn’t being done. They frankly don’t want to do it. They want to get something in return for doing their duty.”
(Senator Kyl apparently believes that eventual amnesty is a “benefit.”)
Update June 21: Fox is all over this story. The White House denied the charge, although not very convincingly since the mouthpiece felt compelled to mention the importance of “comprehensive reform.” Senator Kyl stands by his statement.
Kyl: Obama Won’t Secure Border Until Lawmakers Move on Immigration Package, Fox News, June 21, 2010
The White House denied the claim on Monday.
“The president didn’t say that and Senator Kyl knows it,” White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said in a written statement. “There are more resources dedicated toward border security today than ever before, but, as the president has made clear, truly securing the border will require a comprehensive solution to our broken immigration system.”
But Kyl’s office stood by the senator’s account. Kyl spokesman Ryan Patmintra said, “There were two people in that meeting, and Dan Pfieffer was not one of them.” He said Pfeiffer’s call for comprehensive immigration legislation “only confirms” Kyl’s story.