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On Immigration Reform, House Republicans Traffic in Transparent Excuses and Circular Illogic

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House Republicans are blocking immigration reform.  The reason Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) gives?  “How can we trust the President to actually obey the law and enforce the law?”  The likely result of continued Republican inaction: in a matter of weeks, President Obama will exercise his legal authority to find ways to allow undocumented immigrants to live without fear of deportation.  The response by Speaker Boehner?  “That will make it almost impossible to ever do immigration reform, because he will spoil the well to the point where no one will trust him….”

As Steve Benen of MSNBC writes:

Got that? Boehner doesn’t want to act on immigration reform and he doesn’t want Obama to act unilaterally on immigration reform – because that would make it ‘almost impossible’ for Boehner to do what he doesn’t seem willing to do anyway.  There may be people who find the Speaker’s position persuasive. I just don’t know why.

This is a great example of what Jonathan Bernstein calls ‘lazy mendacity.’ Boehner’s comments are demonstrably wrong, but just as important is the fact that the Speaker apparently can’t be bothered to come up with half-way credible falsehoods.

The notion of the administration’s failure to enforce the law is at direct odds with a spate of exposes.  Yesterday’s New York Times front-page story documented the excesses of the Obama Administration’s record high number of deportations; new enforcement data published by Bloomberg News today that shows that tens of thousands of immigrants deported last year would likely be eligible for legalization and eventual citizenship under provisions in the Senate reform legislation; and a new study by TRAC, the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, shows that ICE has increased its deportation of “convicted criminals” by categorizing those who have violated immigration and traffic laws as “convicted criminals.”

The window of opportunity for Republicans is open now, but closing fast.  As the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent assesses, “Obama is going to come under withering pressure to act if House Republicans don’t move by August recess, and he very well may do so.  By Boehner’s own lights, that will make it almost impossible for Republicans to act, which could very well mean they head into another presidential election without beginning to fix their Latino problem.”

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

House Republican inaction on immigration reform will threaten the Party’s future, and no amount of obfuscation and illogic can protect them from this fate.  If the Republicans fail to step up and take action – and soon – the President must, and we believe, will.