Labrador calls immigration talks with Obama ‘crazy,’ says prez ‘trying to destroy the Republican party’

Idaho GOP Rep. Raul Labrador appears to have abandoned his hopes for immigration reform this year.

Labrador, an immigration lawyer whose first language was Spanish, entered 2013 saying he hoped to be part of a bipartisan approach to immigration reform and that the prospect of success would help him decide whether to run for governor in 2014. Labrador ultimately decided to seek re-election.

But in June, he withdrew from the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” because of concerns over Obamacare. On Wednesday, Labrador said President Obama can’t be trusted on the issue.

Citing Obama’s negotiating posture on the government shutdown and debt ceiling, Labrador said “it would be crazy” for House GOP leaders to deal with the president on immigration.

“If the president is going to show the same kind of good faith effort that he’s shown over the last couple of weeks, then I think it would be crazy for the House Republican leadership to enter into negotiations with them on immigration,” Labrador said at Wednesday’s “Conversations with Conservatives” news conference, according to the conservative news site Breitbart.com.

“And I’m a proponent of immigration reform. So, I think what he has done over the last two and a half weeks – he’s trying to destroy the Republican Party. And I think that anything that we do right now with this president on immigration will be with that same goal in mind, which is to destroy the Republican Party and not get good policies.”

In a July appearance on “Meet the Press” Labrador got into a dustup with New York Times columnist David Brooks, a centrist Republican, over immigration. At the time, Labrador said failure to pass the right sort reform would be the “death of the Republican Party.”

Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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