Greg Sargent makes an excellent point today at the Washington Post about the GOP’s response to the children fleeing violence story — and how it does nothing to help their image as the party of deportations. See, Republicans have been blaming President Obama’s policies, specifically DACA, as the reason why children have been coming to the border. Does that mean Republicans are once again saying — as they have done via multiple votes inspired by Steve King — that we should do away with DACA and go back to deporting DREAMers? Does it mean that, in order to respond to children who have just arrived, they want to punish young immigrants who have lived here nearly their whole lives? Wouldn’t that once again underscore the fact that the Republican approach to the 11 million seems to be, simply, more deportations?
Greg Sargent has more at the Washington Post. Read the full column here or an except below:
The big picture remains that the GOP’s problems on the issue are not going away…
the GOP response to the crisis risks deepening the perception that Republicans have no solutions of their own on immigration. Here’s GOP Rep. Bob Goodlatte, a key player on the issue in the House:
“Once these minors come to the U.S., they are eligible for a wide array of benefits and it will be years before their case is ever heard in court. Without immediate consequences for this illegal immigration, it will only encourage more illegal immigration and more dangerous journeys by children in order to take advantage of the administration’s failure to enforce our immigration laws.”
Meanwhile, new House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy lamented on Fox News Sunday that failure to enforce the law and secure the border are the causes of the crisis. And Ted Cruz is blaming it all on Obama’s decision not to deport the DREAMers.
In short, the Republican position is that the crisis is happening because the currently-arriving kids aren’t being deported immediately and because of Obama’s failure to secure the border and “enforce the law,” which has become shorthand for criticizing Obama’s decision to de-prioritize the deportation of DREAMers and other low-level offenders from the interior, and instead focusing resources on deportations from the border. But this raises two questions for GOP lawmakers:
1) If you believe that Obama’s current enforcement priorities are to blame for the current crisis, are you saying that we should deport all of the DREAMers?
2) If you believe the failure to deport unaccompanied minors immediately is to blame for encouraging the surge, are you saying that we should change the law to do away with the requirement that these kids get to present their case in court?
I don’t believe Republicans will answer either of those questions. And that gets to the big picture problem Republicans face, which is that their only response to the broader immigration crisis has been to hint — without saying so directly — that we need maximum deportations, as quickly as possible. Yes, the Obama administration is currently moving to expedite deportations of the new arrivals. But beyond this, Obama and Dems have passed a measure legalizing the 11 million, and Republicans cannot bring themselves to support any policies that would do that. This difference cannot be papered over by finger-pointing over the current crisis.
The terrible tale is the result of flaws in existing immigration law. But Republicans are essentially trapped in a place where they are blaming the failure to deport DREAMers for the current humanitarian crisis afflicting a whole new class of migrating children.
* WHAT’S NEXT ON IMMIGRATION? Related to the above: Bill Scher has a good column reminding us that Obama is set to take action unilaterally on immigration:
If I were a Republican, I would not be savoring Obama’s 41 percent approval rating and presuming his presidency was done. I would be worried about my party’s 29 percent approval rating, its 15 percent level of support among Latinos and Obama’s plans to take executive action on immigration reform if House Republicans don’t act by July 31. If you think Obama isn’t able to lead on immigration, after what he has done on climate and minimum wage, you haven’t been paying attention.
Whatever he does will surely fall short of what advocates want. But it will further underscore the basic contrast between the two parties on this issue.