Saturday, August 2, 2014

Republican position on immigration reform: Deport 'em all

For the last couple of years, political prognosticators have been trying to gauge the outcome of the current battle between establishment Republicans and the lunatic teapublicans they unleashed in 2010. Yesterday, Speaker Boehner raised the white flag and surrendered to the lunatics on the issue of immigration reform.

On Thursday, the teapublicans demonstrated that they had enough votes to defeat the Speaker's bill that purported to deal with the unaccompanied child migrants who came across our border from Central America. And so the bill never came up for a vote. At that point, the Speaker had the same two options he has faced over and over again: (1) Negotiate a sane alternative with the Democrats to secure enough votes for passage, or (2) Negotiate with the teapublicans to make his bill even more extreme. He chose the latter. That meant that Steve King (R-IA),  Michele Bachman (R-MN) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) basically wrote the bill. Luis Gutierrez (D- IL) described the result:
In the end, the Republican position on immigration can be summed up as: deport 'em al.
In other words, Republicans just voted to:
  1. Deport all the unaccompanied child migrants from Central America without any process to determine whether or not they will be safe when they return.
  2. Deport all the DREAMers who were brought here as children and have never known any other home.
  3. Deport all the people President Obama will cover via executive action later this month.
As a reminder, this is a position that was too extreme for even Newt Gingrich 2 years ago.
"I don't see how the party that says it's the party of the family is going to adopt an immigration policy which destroys families that have been here a quarter of a century," said Gingrich.
And yet, after last night's vote, that is EXACTLY the immigration policy of his party right now. It is so extreme that it is not only opposed by President Obama and the Democrats, its opposed by groups like the Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Evangelicals, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform, Murdoch's WSJ Editorial Board  and law enforcement (just to name a few).

Speaker Boehner is playing a dangerous game in assuming that he can empower the nativist lunatic caucus in the House without repercussions that will likely affect us all. In the long term this is exactly the kind of move that speeds up the demise of his party. In the short term, things will get increasingly ugly.

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