It seems that House Republicans can’t help themselves. Could it really be that their hatred for President Obama and immigrants is so intense that they want to get rid of common sense policies that help military families stay together?
Yesterday and today, House Republicans are backing two bills – the so-called ENFORCE Act (HR 4138) and the Faithful Execution of the Law Act (HR 3973) – designed to strip President Obama’s executive authority. These bills are needed, according to the House Judiciary Committee, in part because of President Obama’s DACA program to protect DREAMers and in part because of his November 2013 policy announcement that “spouses, children, and parents of those who are serving – or have previously served – in the Armed Forces of the United States could receive ‘parole in place’ on a categorical basis” (see here and here).
What? Helping young people who are American in all but the paperwork to contribute to the country they call home? Telling brave soldiers on the front lines that while you fight for our nation we won’t deport your spouse? According to House Republicans, these are outrageous abuses of power.
With respect to the “parole in place” policy, listen and watch what Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) had to say on the floor yesterday:
This is nothing new. We’ve used parole authority pursuant to the immigration act in faithful enforcement of the law to prevent Cubans from being deported back to Cuba since John F. Kennedy was President of the United States. And for the majority to suggest that keeping the wives of American soldiers who are under fire in Afghanistan from being deported is ‘an unlawful extension of parole in place,’ I think it’s a truly shocking and I would say very distressing and disturbing phenomena. We knew that the majority wanted to deport the DREAM Act kids because they voted for the King amendment last year. When Democrats took the DREAM Act up for a vote, all but eight voted against it. But you want to deport the wives of American soldiers in Afghanistan, I’m sorry, it’s a new low.
These bills are particularly hypocritical given the volume of House Republicans who call themselves supporters of DREAMers and military families – yet vote in favor of bills that would remove protections and subject them to deportation. Take, for example, the rank hypocrisy of Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO). On the very same day that Rep. Coffman voted to pass the ENFORCE Act, his spokesman told the Denver Post, “Mike Coffman has been working hard to fix our broken immigration system…He will continue to push for his bipartisan bill that would give citizenship to Dreamers who serve in the military. As Mike says, there is no higher expression of citizenship than serving our nation in uniform.” Yeah, right.
Who are the House Republicans trying to please with these “message bills?” The radical right that hates immigrants almost as much as they hate President Obama. They won over the inimitable Laura Ingraham, who noted about the protections for military families: “I support the military, but just because you served in the military does not mean you should be facilitating other people breaking the law in the U.S.”
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
Rep. Lofgren is spot on. This is a new low for the GOP. In one unanimous voice House Republicans are, in effect, telling military families, ‘Thanks for being willing to make the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of our nation, but while you’re dodging incoming enemy fire, we’ll be putting your spouse on an outgoing deportation flight.’