In 2012, Republicans lost the White House in part because of their over-heated, anti-immigrant rhetoric. In 2014, they’ve doubled down on that strategy of attacking immigration reform. That was on full display yesterday as Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) campaigned for Scott Brown in New Hampshire and the Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) launched a preemptive attack on executive action.
Yesterday, while in New Hampshire, Marco Rubio once again attacked the immigration legislation he authored in the Senate last year once again, noting that the chances of comprehensive immigration reform in the next Congress are slim to none. Per the Associated Press:
Rubio now says he doesn’t support a comprehensive approach, given the border crisis that emerged over the summer and the politically charged nature of the issue. The country must tackle security at the border and reform the immigration system to be merit based, not family based, before Congress can determine what to do with people who are already here, he said. If those two things are done, Rubio said he believes Americans can have a ‘reasonable conversation’ about the future of the millions of people already living here illegally.
“I don’t think Washington, now or in the foreseeable future, is conducive to doing a massive piece of legislation on any topic,” he said.
That last statement certainly undermines the chatter we’ve been hearing that Republicans will push for immigration reform in 2015. On that, we agree with Rubio. The only thing they seem capable of proposing at this point would be a couple of enforcement-only bills that would be an offense to reform advocates. It sure looks like Rubio is setting the stage for a 2016 presidential campaign where that ugly anti-immigrant rhetoric might resonate with the GOP’s hard-core nativist base. But, the reality is that Rubio will end up running for reelection for Senate in 2016 and his anti-immigrant rhetoric is going to be a serious problem. We can guarantee that.
Reinforcing the idea that there’s no chance for a reasonable conversation about immigration reform is this latest screed from Speaker John Boehner (who blocked reform from getting a vote in the House), where he criticizes any forthcoming executive action from the President. It’s clear he’s furthering his anti-immigrant agenda by laying the groundwork to fight against any action on immigration by the White House.
According to Patty Kupfer, Managing Director of America’s Voice:
Republicans are opposed to immigration legislation that deals with the 11 million and they’re opposed to executive action, which leaves only one immigration position left: the status quo. It means thousands of American families continuing to be ripped apart every day and millions of U.S. children facing life without their parents. Continuing the trajectory of leaving millions of people in limbo is cold-hearted and cruel, which is exactly why the President must step up and act. With the GOP’s total abdication of responsible governance on immigration, the President is left with no other choice.