Cross-Posted at Huffington Post:
Looks like President Obama will be giving Senators John McCain (R-AZ), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) most of what they’re asking for: $500 million in new border security funds and 1,200 National Guards deployed to the Southern border. All this, in exchange for… refusing to support comprehensive immigration reform.
Let’s rewind. Earlier today President Obama spoke with Republican Senators about the need for comprehensive immigration reform. He went straight into the Lion’s Den and challenged Republicans to work with him on comprehensive immigration reform. So far, so good, we thought.
But here’s the thing: President Obama left the Lion’s Den having given into the key GOP demand of “border security first” without getting anything in return. Sound familiar?
President Obama no doubt was eloquent in making his case for comprehensive immigration reform. He gets it. He is right when he says the only realistic solution to illegal immigration is a comprehensive overhaul that augments border security measures with a crackdown on illegal hiring and exploitative employers, a requirement that those in the U.S. illegally come forward and meet certain requirements in order to work towards citizenship, and reforms of our legal immigration system going forward.
Then we learn that he’s asking Congress for half a billion in funding for border security and planning to deploy 1,200 National Guards there as well. This is similar to what Senators McCain and Kyl have been demanding recently. McCain and Kyl, both former champions of the kind of comprehensive reform that President Obama advocates, have turned their back on the approach they fought hard for in the past. They have even embraced Arizona’s new “papers please” law. Approved on a party line vote by the Republican-dominated Arizona legislature, Arizona’s SB 1070 has sparked national boycotts and protests of the state. They now repeat the vacuous sound-bite of “border security first” and have most of the GOP repeating it ad nauseum.