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Sargent: How the Failure of Immigration Reform Could Drag Down Paul Ryan

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As we wrote about here, Paul Ryan narrowly missed sharing the stage with Steve King during a fundraiser in Iowa last Friday.  But that’s beside the point when Ryan has voted with Steve King on key anti-immigrant provisions like the latter’s amendment to deport DREAMers, and is a member of a House GOP caucus that has allowed King to call the shots on immigration.  If Paul Ryan runs in 2016, that record alone is going to haunt him.  Greg Sargent at the Washington Post today has more:

If the House GOP fails to act on immigration reform, isn’t it plausible that the House GOP brand could be so toxic among Latinos that a House Republican running for president could face an even more difficult struggle among that constituency in a general election than other Republicans (reformer type governors, for instance) might?

Indeed, the failure to pass reform could be a particularly heavy albatross for Ryan among Latinos, presuming he does run for president.

Ryan has made a lot of the right noises about immigration reform. He has carefully signaled an openness to some form of legalization, and he has correctly pointed outthat the longer Congress delays in tackling reform, the worse the problem will get. With an eye on 2016, he plainly wants to be associated with elements in the GOP that want to solve the immigration problem.

But if House Republicans don’t act on reform, how much will such rhetoric matter? The reality will be that he has a track record of actual votes and actions against reform.

Ryan voted for Steve King’s amendment to end the Obama administration’s exercise of prosecutorial discretion to delay deportations of the DREAMers. He voted foranother House GOP measure targeting Obama’s authority to defer those deportations. And he recently blocked an effort by Democrats to move immigration reform forward in the House….

Indeed, presuming reform fails, Ryan would be running for president as a leading figure coming out of the institution (the GOP-controlled House) that single-handedly blocked immigration reform from happening for years, despite the existence of a Senate bill and a president ready to sign an immigration overhaul bringing 11 million people out of the shadows. Dems would aggressively revive Ryan’s actual track record and votes on the issue, reminding folks that Ryan — who commands great respect among House conservatives — never used his stature to prevail upon them to vote on reform, even as the House cheerfully voted on the measure offered by neo-nativist Steve King.