Texans, Tennesseans: 'Remember the Alamo' as We Go to Battle with Harry Reid, Barack Obama Over Executive Amnesty

by Matthew Boyle 9 Sep 2014, 2:16 PM PDT

At a Tuesday press conference hosted by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), several members of Congress—after Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) brought up how Tennessee helped save Texas with luminaries of history like Davy Crockett—compared the battle they’re heading into with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to the infamous historical themes of the Texas Revolution.

“Being surrounded by all these Texans, I have to remind them: There would not be a Texas without a Tennessee,” Blackburn said after Cruz introduced her to speak. “So once again Tennessee is going to take the lead and help Texas and help our entire nation end this issue. The crisis at the southern border was caused by President Obama. We know that. When you talk to our agencies and officials that are involved in this process, they will tell you that. It is the magnet.”

General Santa Anna of the Mexican military was fighting a campaign to keep Texas under Mexican control during the Texas revolutionary war, but Texans had driven most of Santa Anna’s troops out of Texas. Many of the Texans fighting were Tennesseans who resettled to the frontier of Texas. In late February and early March of 1836, Santa Anna besieged the Alamo—a Texas outpost—for 13 days and laid waste to everything there, killing all the Texans who fought back. The tragedy, however, inspired Texans under General Sam Houston’s command to win the battle of San Jacinto and end the war—winning their independence.

When Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) took the stage right after Blackburn, his remarks also focused on the themes of honor from the battle of the Alamo.

“I want to concede at the outset that Marsha Blackburn was right: There were a lot of Tennesseans at the Alamo,” Smith said. “In fact, one of the Tennesseans at the Alamo you’ve probably heard about, his name was Davy Crockett, and he was on the outskirts of San Antonio on a hill looking down, and he could see the Alamo, and he wrote his last letter to his daughter. I think it was the last line in the letter probably said: ‘Don’t worry about me, I am among friends.’ That’s how I feel today with the senator and Ms. Marsha Blackburn on either side of me.”

Sen. Cruz interjected at that point: ““Hopefully with a different result.”

“Yes, hopefully with a different result,” Smith concurred.

When Rep. John Carter (R-TX) took the podium a little while later, he too honed in on how, after Texans lost the Battle of the Alamo, they won the war. That, Carter said, is exactly what conservatives plan to do as they go to battle with Reid: win.

“I want to thank Sen. Cruz for doing what he always does, being on top of the issues that are important to our nation and our state,” Carter said. “My friend from Tennessee, Tennesseans have always been there by our side. We picked the Alamo, and we lost that fight. But we won another one later, and we’re going to win this fight.”

The analogy between the Alamo and the immigration wars in Congress might not be perfect, but there definitely are some similarities. Right after the 2012 election, it seemed all but certain that an amnesty would pass Congress and but for a handful of members—most of whom were at Cruz’s Tuesday press conference—who fought back. Under the brute force of Washington lobbyists directed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, the Senate passed an amnesty—the “Gang of Eight” bill—and it was assumed that all was lost.

But a group of conservative members stood up and fought back against the left and, just before August’s congressional recess, the House of Representatives stood together and passed a bill that blocks the president from granting an executive amnesty. That’s a remarkable turnaround for a Congress and a Washington, D.C., that was headed in the exact opposite direction just a year ago.

“The problem we’ve got here – and the senator raised it and he’s articulated it – the President of the United States has decided he can go forward and do what he wants to do and circumvent the laws of the United States,” said Rep. Carter, who a year ago was working with the House version of the “Gang of Eight” on immigration but now is standing firm with Cruz and Senate Budget Committee ranking member Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) on their immigration strategy instead. Carter continued:

"When an American citizen wants to know what the law is, he goes to one of those law books and looks it up—and they look in there and see what the law is and abide by that law. They don’t ask what the president’s opinion of that law is, they follow the law—and he should too. But he hasn’t been. And now he’s threatening it again, to massively change written law of the land to suit his purposes. We fought a revolution to keep from having a king and a parliament. We've got a president and a Constitution, and we’ve got a House and a Senate. The president’s job is to enforce the laws that the House and the Senate write. That’s his job."

Blackburn said the executive order President Obama signed in summer 2012—the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)—which granted amnesty to illegal alien minors is serving as the “magnet that is drawing people across this border.”

“Now the problem is, in addition to all these children, Border Patrol has apprehended people from 75 different countries that are coming across the border,” Blackburn said. “In this week, when we remember what happened on 9/11, it is so important for us to know that it is imperative that we protect our country, it is imperative that we know who is here in this country, and it is imperative that we protect this nation’s sovereignty.”

Holding up the couple sheets of paper on which her bill is printed, Blackburn said it would be easy for the Senate to debate and vote on it in short order.

“Now, along with the 352 bills that are stuck on Harry Reid’s desk, is this one little bitty bill,” she said. “Right here. It is easy to read. They could easily have a session and read the entire bill.”

Blackburn and the others are demanding that Reid allow a clean vote on the House-passed anti-DACA bill that Blackburn and Cruz have sponsored to stop the president from granting any executive amnesty, now or after the election, if he goes through with his newly stated intentions.

“We’re calling on Harry Reid to take up HR 5272 and the companion bill from the Senate, Sen. Cruz’s legislation,” Blackburn said. “Pass it. Send it to the president’s desk. This isn’t about politics; it’s about protecting our nation. It’s about stopping the magnet that’s causing so many to come to our southern border, and along the way they are subjected to human trafficking, drug trafficking, sex trafficking. Let’s put a stop to it. Let’s do the compassionate, humane thing and put a stop to it.”

Smith said the president doesn’t want this bill to pass and neither does Reid because they’re “afraid” of the American people.

“The real problem here is that the president has threatened administrative amnesty like the Senator just talked about,” Smith said. “The reason he has delayed his executive order is because he’s afraid of the American people. He knows what he wants to do is not popular and not supported by the American people, and that’s a problem. By delaying his administrative amnesty, he is dodging what the voters feel on election day.”