In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Tea Party Leader Labels Immigration Bill 'Obamacare Redux'

AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite

Grassroots conservative, who were important players in the 2010 Republican takeover of the House, have kept relatively quiet about the bill so far. Martin even praised Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) last month for his speech supporting far-reaching immigration reform, saying they were "aligned" on the issue.

But that was before the actual 844-page bill dropped, providing an easy target for new attacks on the right. And Paul, for his part, has sounded a much more hesitant note on immigration reform since the Boston Marathon bombing.

In addition to Martin's post, the National Review's cover this week features the headline "Rubio's Folly" along with an op-ed by Mark Krikorian of the restrictionist Center for Immigration Studies. Jim DeMint, a former Rubio ally, recently took over as president of the Heritage Foundation and has made clear the group will work to rebut reports that immigration reform will reduce the deficit and spur economic growth.

Led by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Republican supporters of the bill have employed a multi-pronged strategy to address concerns about process and substance alike. Rubio, for example, has publicly demanded an open and lengthier hearing process than some of his fellow "Gang of 8" members in an effort to cut off claims that reform would be rushed through Congress. And business and advocacy groups, in addition to providing advertising support for pro-reform politicians, are emphasizing support from evangelical and law enforcement leaders for the legislation.

While these moves clearly demonstrate the reform movement's expectation that they'll face a substantial pushback from the right, they're only now starting to face their first real battle. And leaders in the Republican-led House, which has been slower to move on immigration reform, are surely watching closely as they decide how far they're willing to go to pass a bill.

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