This week, both Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) are warning President Obama not to take executive action on immigration reform — lest it ruin the chances for immigration reform next year.
What chances? Commentators have been noting that there’s little likelihood immigration reform will pass until at least 2017 — after Republicans have once again lost the White House and once again realized that they must do something to address their Latino-and-minority-vote problem. Not to mention the fact that Republicans have had this entire Congressional session to work on immigration reform. They were even given a deadline before which advocates asked them to show good faith intent, which they blew right through. GOPers, including Boehner and Ryan, like to speak platitudes about the need for immigration reform. But they have shown absolutely no sign of following through.
That didn’t stop Ryan and Boehner from using nearly identical words this week to try and stop Obama from acting. As Ryan said on the Fox Business Network, Obama “will poison the well for immigration reform and make a political decision to not work on getting immigration reform.” As Boehner echoed on ABC, “if you want to get immigration reform done, and you want to get it right, don’t do things that will poison the well.”
Republicans need to remember that the conversation on immigration reform and executive action “isn’t about you. You’re dead to us already!” as our Executive Director, Frank Sharry likes to say.
Republicans like Boehner and Paul Ryan are kidding themselves if they think anyone believes that immigration reform might move next year. Ted Cruz and Jeff Sessions are currently waging a whole campaign to push President Obama to end DACA and resume the deportation of DREAMers. Michele Bachmann made headlines over the weekend when she claimed that Obama is “going to give full-scale amnesty to millions of illegal aliens, which by the way would include terrorists who are currently in this country who came in illegally.” Granted, she won’t be in Congress next session, but Steve King might be, and a Talking Points Memo profile on him yesterday ended with him scheming to elect a president who shares his worldview.
Figuring out how to deal with those extremists should be priority #1 for Boehner and GOP leaders — not trying to weigh in on a conversation where they have no pull.