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Editorial Roundup: GOP is Out of Touch With America. They Need to Pass DHS Funding and Support Immigration Reform

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Just before midnight tomorrow, funding for the Department of Homeland Security will run out and the GOP will be responsible for yet another government shutdown, despite promises that they will use their 2014 majorities to govern.  And why are Republicans pushing for this standoff?  Because they want more deportations, and the Obama Administration isn’t giving it to them.  Below is an editorial and op-ed roundup of the GOP’s folly, and why they need to pass the clean DHS funding bill that everyone else realizes is inevitable.

Washington Post (Editorial): On immigration policy, the GOP is out of touch with the rest of America

CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS are so busy this week flirting with a partial government shutdown — their target is the Department of Homeland Security and its 240,000 employees — that they may have missed fresh evidence of how badly out of step with the American public they are on the issue of illegal immigration…

As it happens, 60 percent of Americans — and roughly equal segments of Republicans, Democrats and independents — oppose the GOP’s tactic of threatening homeland security funding as a means to subvert the Obama administration’s immigration policy. According to a new CBS News poll, a clear majority thinks the department’s funding “should be kept separate from immigration policy.”

Yet even on immigration policy, the GOP is at sea. Hard-line Republicans in the House refused to take up a bill passed by the Senate in 2013, with moderate GOP support, that would have laid out a path to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants. They also refused to devise any alternative legislation to address the question of how to handle those undocumented immigrants — even to grant them legal status short of citizenship.

Instead, most House Republicans insist on somehow “securing” the border before they will discuss the fate of the undocumented, without defining what would constitute a secure border or acknowledging that by virtually every objective measure it is currently more secure, and under tighter federal surveillance, than at any point in decades.

Meanwhile, Americans are approaching a consensus on the issue, and in a very different place. In a large and important new survey, majorities in all 50 states favored a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. More than three-quarters of Americans supported either citizenship or legal status for them. By contrast, just 19 percent wanted to identify and deport illegal immigrants…

Increasingly, Republicans who use illegal immigration as a wedge issue are at odds not just with the Obama administration, Democrats and Hispanics; they are also at odds with majorities of Americans in every region of the nation. That’s a recipe for political marginalization.

Bloomberg Review (Opinion): The Undocumented Investment Banker

Ruin is precisely what legislation passed by the House and stymied this week in the Senate would bring to other striving immigrants with stories similar to [DREAMer Julissa Arce’s]. That legislation would block President Barack Obama’s plan to enable millions of settled undocumented immigrants to avoid deportation and obtain work permits. It essentially mandates deportation for as many undocumented immigrants as the federal government can process — whether they came to the U.S. as children or adults.

The question is, to what end? Would deporting such people improve the U.S. economy? Numerous studies indicate just the opposite. Would dividing families improve U.S. communities? Not likely. What broader public goal is served by sending the mother of a U.S. elementary school student back to her home village in El Salvador? By deporting a college student who was raised in the U.S. and is fully American in speech, culture and patriotism but lacks a green card?

The U.S. is a nation of laws, and any nation that fails to enforce its laws invites chaos. At the same time, society and culture change, and so must laws along with them. Any nation that fails to recognize and adapt to complex human realities risks cultural and economic stagnation.

Calls from Washington to secure the border are good politics. And in an age of terrorism, border security is also good government. But Arce and millions of others crossed that border long ago. They already live in the U.S. With families. With jobs. With dreams. With Americans. Devaluing their contributions and undermining their ambitions doesn’t make the U.S. safer. It makes it foolish.

New York Times: Holding National Security Hostage:

If Republicans in Congress don’t relent on their quest to thwart President Obama’s executive actions on immigration by refusing to fund the Department of Homeland Security, there’s only one agency in the gargantuan bureaucracy where business would largely continue to operate as usual.

It happens to be the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, which processes visa, work permit and green card applications and is the very agency responsible for accepting petitions for deferred action from deportation that the Obama administration has offered to certain unauthorized immigrants.

Unlike other parts of the department, U.S.C.I.S. is funded almost entirely by applicant fees, rather than taxpayer dollars, making it immune to government shutdowns…

While critical functions, such as law enforcement operations, would continue, officials say the halt in funding would compromise their ability to respond effectively to a natural disaster and could make the country more vulnerable to organized crime and even acts of terrorism.

At U.S.C.I.S., there is one program that would have to be suspended: E-Verify, the online service that allows employers to check the employment eligibility of workers.

CNBC (Opinion): Homeland Security standoff: The Republican risk

Republican congressional leaders once again confront their core problem: taming a conservative base unwilling to recognize limits on its popularity and power…

The problem with [the GOP] strategy is that, to the contrary, Democrats do not have to give in. Republicans do, and the only question is how much political damage they suffer before that happens…

Second is the use of an unsustainable tactic to achieve those outcomes. Americans want their security agency to remain on the job, just as they want sound and stable credit markets and a functioning federal government. As the party explicitly making those basic functions hostage to other objectives, Republicans rather than Democrats suffer the political blame if they’re impeded.

What makes the current standoff riskier for Republicans is that they control both houses of Congress. House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have vowed to prevent further debt crises or government shutdowns to show the nation their party can govern responsibly.

That matters to the eventual Republican presidential nominee as well as to the party’s attempt to hold Congress in 2016. Polls have consistently shown Republicans with a poorer national image than Democrats in recent years. That matters most in the heavier voter turnouts that occurs during elections for the White House…

Privately, GOP lawmakers and aides concede that has to happen one way or another. The longer it takes, the less secure Republican political prospects will be.