House Republicans, in the next few days, are finally taking some steps toward immigration reform, by holding a summit to discuss the issue and releasing a statement of principles. It’s still unclear what they’ll propose, after an entire year in which they dragged their feet and did nothing on immigration reform except give Steve King a vote to deport DREAMers. But it’s something.
An editorial at the conservative National Review today, however, is criticizing the House GOP for even doing this much, and counsels them to follow the “correct” course: do nothing.
Why? The National Review editorial board believes that Republicans are better off making hay and continuing to attack Obamacare, rather than addressing immigration reform. They argue that immigration is not urgent — that no one in the Republican base is clamoring for legislation. They say that President Obama can’t be entrusted to enforce the laws. And they argue that immigration reform that brings 11 million people out of the shadows is just bad policy.
OK. To start off with, this isn’t the first time that conservatives have denied that the broken US immigration system even needs to be fixed. More than 1,000 people are getting deported every single day — that’s potentially 1,000 families where husbands are being separated from their wives, and parents are being separated from their children — yet some conservatives just don’t see a need to act. It’s not hard to see why the GOP is having a problem connecting with Latino voters, when they are so out of touch with the devastation that immigrant and Latino communities face.
Why else would they constantly be claiming that President Obama can’t be trusted to enforce border security? Around March of this year or so, the Obama Administration will have deported its 2 millionth immigrant — and is on track to deport more people than any other administration, ever. The President faces protests wherever he goes from immigration reform advocates, including America’s Voice, for this brutal record. Just today, Reps. Raúl Grijalva and Yvette Clarke sent Obama a letter slamming him for the ongoing deportations crisis. An MPI report last year found that the US spends $18 billion every year on enforcement. If this isn’t evidence that he’s enforcing border security — far too rigidly — what would be?
Next, let’s talk about politics. In 2012, Mitt Romney took the advice of NRO’s columnist, Mark Krikorian from the Center for Immigration Studies, and endorsed self-deportation. That was a disaster for the GOP — even Mitt admits it. Yet, the National Review cites Krikorian in its editorial as if he’s some kind of sage. Here’s the thing: in the words of pollster Gary Segura, “demography is relentless.” The country is continuing to change, and 2012 will not be the last of the GOP’s electoral troubles if they don’t do more to reach out to Latino voters — by, for example, passing immigration reform. Don’t just take our word for it. No less than Sen. John Cornyn has pointed out that Republicans can “win in 2014 without resolving [immigration]. We can’t win in 2016 without resolving it.”
Immigration reform is ever moving forward, and our movement is determined to finally win legalization and citizenship for the 11 million this year. So, Republicans should be asking: why is National Review advising their party to embrace the failed strategies of the past, or do nothing at all? More of the same is just that—more of the same.