On immigration, there are three types of comments right now coming from Republicans:
- Empty rhetoric about how the GOP might pass an immigration reform bill next year, because the party must show people that it can govern
- Reluctance to submit a proposal, or commit to passing anything, because Republicans claim that they can’t trust Obama to carry out the law
- Repeated emphasis that President Obama must not take executive action on immigration, because that would doom the nearly-nonexistent possibility that Republicans might pass a bill.
It’s not hard to read between the lines: Republicans have no intention of passing anything that looks like real immigration reform, but they’re trying to cover that up with nice rhetoric and faint promises, in an attempt to not totally doom themselves with Latino voters. That’s apparently the intention of Colorado’s Senator-elect Cory Gardner (R), who has been going around talking about how Republicans must “govern maturely” — yet has not done anything to push immigration reform forward as a member of the House. A blog at Colorado Pols today calls him out for the discrepancy, and urges him to put his money where his mouth is:
Quite the conflict being set up here: Gardner says that Obama must not not take any executive action on immigration, which Obama has vowed to do citing exigent need for action to be taken. But Republicans also say that immigration reform legislation is a nonstarter during the “lame duck” session on Congress this year. Furthermore, Speaker John Boehner says there’s “no trust” from Republicans in Obama to enforce what they pass, which makes you wonder how he has any plan to work with the President at all. Not to mention, though Gardner hasn’t said it (yet), that executive action by Obama on immigration has been met by threats of impeachment. If this sounds like a train wreck waiting to happen, you’re probably right.
This would be a great moment for a newly-elected Senator from Colorado, with six years before his next election, to step up and underscore his fair-sounding words with action. Gardner has frequently paid empty lip service to immigration reform in the last couple of years–a “Thanksgiving tradition”–but when given the chance to support bipartisan immigration reform, Gardner has either done nothing, or in perhaps his most telling action on the issue, actually helped kill GOP Sen. Marco Rubio’s reform bill when it reached the House. When Gardner tells George Stephanopoulos that he “has supported immigration reform,” one must assume that support came in a form other than votes.
Cory Gardner needs to back up his talk with some walk. But we’re not holding our breath.