This week, top-rated Univision news anchor Jorge Ramos (who, in terms of influence, has been compared to both Walter Cronkite and the Pope) is throwing his considerable influence behind immigration reform and pressuring House Republicans to get the issue done. On Monday, he published a bilingual op-ed called “Republicans Are Already Losing the 2016 Election,” (read it in Spanish here) in which he makes it very clear that killing immigration reform this year will have direct consequences for the national GOP in the next presidential election.
As Ramos wrote:
If Republicans in the House of Representatives vote against the immigration reform legislation that was recently approved by the Senate — or if they prevent it from coming to a vote at all — they will lose the presidential election in 2016. It will not even matter who their candidate is.
Continuing, he hammered House Republicans for their short-sightedness in not taking action:
Sometimes it seems as though House Republicans are following a game plan devised by their worst enemy, for in attacking Hispanics — the fastest-growing demographic group in the country — they’re only hurting themselves. Rather than take advantage of the huge progress the Senate made by passing a bipartisan bill that would offer a path to citizenship to most of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., many House Republicans would evidently prefer to devote their energy to stalling and coming up with excuses for not supporting it.
Ramos’ op-ed echoes comments that he gave to Greg Sargent in an interview this week, in which he made it clear that “immigration reform is a prerequisite for a new look at Republicans by the Hispanic community,” and that GOP failure to give immigration reform with a path to citizenship a vote in the House would be “political suicide.”
That failure extends to many things, as Republicans should be aware of as they attempt to steer blame away from themselves in case immigration reform should die. These attempts to hot-potato the blame won’t work, because Latino voters—and Hispanic media—will see through it.
“Any kind of maneuvering to prevent a vote will be seen in a very bad light,” Ramos told Sargent. “It could go from preventing a vote, to not bringing the issue to the floor for a vote, to rejecting a final bill agreed on in conference.”
And since John Boehner single-handedly has the power to decide whether to bring immigration reform up to a vote in the House, reform—and the severe consequences of not passing it—is on Boehner’s head, as Markos Moulitsas at Daily Kos further highlighted yesterday. As he wrote:
This is all on Boehner, who has promised his merry band of psychopaths allegiance to the Hastert Rule—no immigration bill will come to the floor of the House for a vote unless it has the support of a majority of the Republican caucus.
The Senate bill could pass the House today if Boehner allowed an up-or-down vote, but he’s more afraid of his own Republican colleagues than he is of the electoral ramifications of failure. The problem for him is that everyone knows the call is his, and his alone.
No excuses, no delays, no obfuscation. Boehner and the rest of the House GOP leadership, including Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy, need to allow a vote on immigration reform with a path to citizenship immediately. There will be no hiding from the consequences if they don’t.