Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) has once again separated himself from the pack, but not in such a good way this time. He is catching a great deal of flak on the state and national level for voting against immigration measures promoted by President Trump.
Amash was the only Republican ‘no’ vote against Kate’s Law, and one of the few Republican ‘no’ votes against the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act. Kate’s Law would bolster penalties for undocumented immigrants convicted of crimes who were deported from the United States and then re-entered the country illegally. The No Sanctuary for Criminals Act would make sanctuary cities ineligible for certain federal grants.
Amash cited constitutional reasons for opposing both pieces of legislation. He responded personally to Matt Hall, a Michigan Republican Party Executive Committee Member, who took him to task on social media for his “disappointing votes.”
“A few of us still care about the Constitution and conservatism. It’s embarrassing how quickly people ignore and abandon the Tenth Amendment when it’s inconvenient,” Amash wrote in defense of his controversial votes.
An occasionally pointed but constructive discussion between Amash and various Michigan conservatives continued from there. The exchange illustrates the difficulties that Amash’s constant dogged opposition to Trump is giving him in Michigan.
“There’s a clear Fifth Amendment violation. The Fifth Amendment applies to “persons” within U.S. jurisdiction. The bill expressly prohibits a court from allowing a person to challenge an element (validity of prior removal order) of the alleged crime. That violates due process,” Amash wrote in an attempt to clarify his Constitutional concerns with Kate’s Law.
“It seems suspect to me that Rand Paul and Ted Cruz would vote yes on an Unconstitutional bill. They voted in favor of this legislation in the past. It also appears that all of the Liberty Caucus Members voted in favor of these two bills except for you,” Hall wrote in a response to Amash.
Although most of the Michigan conservatives participating in the discussion disagreed with Amash’s sentiments, they appreciated his candor. Amash will need to rely on this frankness and sincerity to avoid succumbing to a primary challenge next year. Trump’s social media director threatened Amash personally earlier this year, and the liberty-minded legislator will need to be a nimble navigator to stop any sharks circling him anticipating his vulnerability in 2018.