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The “constant drumbeat of the liberal media” in favor of open borders has “intimidated” some Republicans, said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich after GOP members joined Democrats in an amendment that effectively would enable anyone from Latin America to obtain asylum in the United States.

“Republicans often behave as though they represent a minority interest, when, in fact, even most people who are here as immigrants would like to see a law-abiding country that’s physically safe,” Gingrich said in an interview Thursday with the Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson.

In 2014, the Obama administration dramatically expanded the criteria for asylum in the United States, which had been largely restricted to the threat of persecution on religious or political grounds. Under the Obama rules, anyone claiming a threat from gang violence or domestic abuse could get asylum, effectively opening the borders to the 500 million people of Latin America, much of which is plagued by gang violence.

In June, Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversed the Obama rule, but on Wednesday House Republicans added to a House appropriations bill an amendment that would make the Obama rule permanent.

Carlson argued the Republican Party won’t exist for very long if the borders remain open to illegal immigrants and asylum seekers who invariably vote Democrat.

He asked: Why don’t Republicans understand the threat such policies pose to the country as well as to the party itself?

Gingrich noted the media “routinely smears” opponents of illegal immigration.

“If you say I’m for legal immigration, but I’m against people crossing the border illegally, somehow that becomes xenophobic, anti-foreigner.”

On Wednesday, Rep. David Price, D-N.C., presented an amendment to a House appropriations bill blocking funds to implement Sessions’ decision to narrow asylum people of particular groups – whether racial, ethnic, religious or political – that have an identity independent of the persecution they face. Sessions also specified the persecution should not pertain to harms that a home government is able to rectify.

However, the Republican chairman of the House Appropriations Committee,
Rep. Kevin Yoder of Kansas, led Republicans in approving the amendment with a voice vote.

He cited his mothers’ service as a social worker as a key factor in shaping his opinion.

“I believe that [domestic abuse] should be a factor in an asylum claim, and USCIS should at least be able to look at those issues in an asylum claim,” Yoder said prior to the vote,” Yoder said.

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