Eye On Boise

Norquist: Conservatives should back immigration reform

Grover Norquist speaks in Boise on Tuesday (Idaho Statesman / Joe Jaszewski)
Grover Norquist speaks in Boise on Tuesday (Idaho Statesman / Joe Jaszewski)

Grover Norquist is best known as an anti-tax activist – he wrote the no-tax-hikes pledge that’s now been signed by nearly every Republican member of Congress – but he’s also a big backer of reforming the nation’s immigration laws, a cause he’s been pushing for the past 30 years. Norquist came to Boise today (shown in Joe Jaszewski photo above) to tell Idahoans why he thinks conservatives should support immigration reform, and drew a big crowd to the talk sponsored by the City Club of Boise; you can read my full story here at spokesman.com.

“Those people who tell me, ‘You know, I’m for this rule of law thing,’ I wonder where they were when we had a 55 mph speed limit,” Norquist told the crowd. “We had that into the ‘80s. … As a result, there was a great deal of illegal driving going on. And I don’t remember anyone saying, ‘First thing we do is arrest everybody who’s been illegally driving, and then we’ll have a conversation about what a normal, reasonable speed limit is.”

The Harvard MBA and president of Americans for Tax Reform spoke in support of the bipartisan bill now being debate in the U.S. Senate – which thus far, both Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch have opposed – and lauded Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador for being “front and center” in the debate in the House.  Norquist’s talk was underwritten by the Idaho Business Coalition for Immigration Reform and the Idaho Dairymen’s Association, but he asked for no speaking fee and was compensated only for expenses. “It’s important,” he said. “I went to Austin, Texas and did the same thing, I went to Kansas.”

Norquist said he came to Idaho because “you had a business community that was interested … and also to be supportive of Labrador’s efforts,” and to encourage Idaho’s two senators to get on board. He spoke with Idaho Sen. Jim Risch on Monday, but “we just talked general Idaho politics,” he said. “We didn’t talk very much about immigration. … I knew he was a no vote at that point. I sent him my stuff.”




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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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