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DHS Funding Debate Makes Clear: Immigration is GOP's Kryptonite

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The Monster of Their Own Creation is Out of Control

An array of voices from across the political spectrum agree that the DHS funding debacle has been a colossal embarrassment and failure for the GOP.  According to Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice: “The Republican Party’s mishandling of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding makes it clear that immigration is the GOP’s Kryptonite.  They think that demagoguing on this issue will increase their power when it only succeeds in diminishing their prestige.”

In a new column for Spanish language media outlets Maribel Hastings, Senior Advisor with America’s Voicewrites: “The Republican Party has coddled its intolerant sector, allowing them to set the agenda and tone on the issue of immigration, and bleeding into other areas.  After their electoral gains in 2014, they’ve been unable to show they can govern effectively.  The monster of their own creation is out of control.”  Hastings’ columns are published regularly in major Spanish-language outlets around the country, including Univision.comEl Nuevo Herald and all ImpreMedia publications, as well as dozens of local papers.

The Wall Street Journal editorial boardwrites: “A majority in Congress is a terrible thing to waste, but only two months into their largest majority since the 1920s Republicans are well on the way.  Their latest mental breakdown is over their attempt to overturn President Obama ’s order ending deportations for some five million illegal immigrants…The sad if predictable irony is that this is exactly what Mr. Obama hoped to incite with his November immigration order.  He wanted to goad an overreaction that made the GOP look both anti-immigrant and intemperate enough to shut down the government…The immigration fiasco raises the larger question of whether House Republicans can even function as a majority.”

A reported piece from POLITICO’s Manu Raju, Jake Sherman, and John Bresnahan highlights how Republicans’ anti-immigrant obsession led them to overreach and move forward without a clear plan: “On Friday, congressional Republicans suffered a humiliating defeat as they struggled to stave off a shutdown of the nation’s main domestic anti-terrorism agency…This is not how Boehner and his counterpart in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, had envisioned for the first months of their partnership…Immigration was not part of the plan.  But it has become the party’s fixation and potentially its undoing as it struggles for a way out of a crisis of its own making.”

Greg Sargent of the Washington Post’s Plum Line blog highlights passages of a new book from GOP pollster Whit Ayres that are directly relevant to the current immigration debate in Congress.  Ayres advises Republicans to chart a new course on immigration: “Rather than cursing the darkness, reflexively screaming ‘amnesty,’ and calling for deportation of a population the size of Ohio, they need to light a candle and show the way forward on this complex issue.  And they must do this in a way that solves the problem and does not doom the Republican Party to political irrelevance in the future.”

And syndicated columnist E.J. Dionne captures the political stakes of the Republicans’ ongoing anti-immigrant obsession, writing: “To win the presidency and to improve their chances of holding the Senate in 2016, Republicans will have to do far better with Latino voters than Mitt Romney did in 2012.  This fight will only make that harder.  And middle-of-the-road voters don’t like this sort of brinksmanship, as well they shouldn’t.  The way Republicans are behaving could thus turn one of the party’s assets, the likelihood that they will hold their House majority for some time, into a liability.”

These observations are just the tip of the iceberg for the Republican Party, as yet another manufactured DHS deadline looms at the end of this week.  Will the GOP show that they’ve learned anything from this debate, or keep playing with Kryptonite?  The world will soon find out.