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Turning Point: Leading Spanish Language Media Voices Disgusted By GOP Excuses & Inaction on Immigration

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Top Spanish language media voices are condemning House Republicans for their latest excuses and inaction on immigration reform and are warning the GOP about the profound political consequences that the Republican Party will face in future elections should they continue to block reform.

In addition, the leading congressional advocate for immigration reform, Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL), delivered a blistering speech on the House floor this morning.  He condemned his Republican colleagues for their latest excuses.

Below, America’s Voice provides excerpts and links to these key commentators (translations noted).

Jorge Ramos of Univisión, one of the most trusted anchors in Spanish language media, writes (translation by America’s Voice):

Let me tell you a fairytale.  The Republican Party made immigrants and Latinos believe for a moment that they really wanted to pass immigration reform this year. But all indications point this way: they’re not going to do anything about it.  The fairytale ends with undocumented immigrants remaining without legalization for a long time to come,  and Republicans remaining without the White House in 2016.  It’s a political game. Last year,  the Democratic-majority Senate passed an immigration reform bill.  The centerpiece of the Senate’s bill was the legalization of the majority of the undocumented, with an eventual path to citizenship.  From there, it turned to the Republican-led House of Representatives…where it all proceeded to fall apart. 

A few days ago, after many internal discussions, the Republican Party released a set of immigration ‘principles’…Mitch McConnell, the leading Senate Republican, said that immigration couldn’t be addressed this year; Tea Party congressman Raul Labrador said that if Boehner brought reform up for a vote he deserved to lose his speakership; and Boehner, capitulating to the pressure, said that he had serious doubts that 2014 would be the year for immigration reform.  Immediately, all the Republicans (trained in their talking points) started to blame President Obama for the failure of reform. Yes, in fact, Obama hasn’t fulfilled his immigration promise of 2009. But leave no doubt: if immigration reform doesn’t happen in 2014, the fault will lie with the Republican Party and its leader, John Boehner, who didn’t even dare to bring it up for a vote.

Their political calculus is that they’ll be able to revive the issue in 2015.  But they’re wrong. They’ll be in the middle of a brutal presidential campaign. No one will want to lead on immigration that year.  The worst news for Republicans is that in 2016 they’ll lose the majority of 16 million Hispanic votes, and, surely, with those the White House as well. The immigration issue will pursue them like a vengeful ghost…Meanwhile, undocumented immigrants are stuck in a situation that is frankly infuriating.  Their president wants to deport them, and the only party that can do anything to save them has turned its back. This isn’t the American dream that they imagined they were finding in this country.  It’s just a fairytale.

La Opinión, the leading Spanish language daily has published several editorials:

“The Immigration Farce” regarding House Republicans:

They would rather hold Obama responsible for their caucus’ decision to use what is left of the year to repeatedly keep harping on Obamacare with the goal of getting brownie points for the November elections, instead of focusing their attention on urgent issues. That is a decision openly in favor of demagoguery.  Therefore, they have conveniently decided in advance that the president cannot be trusted with implementing laws, especially immigration ones.  According to this line of reasoning, what is the point of approving them?  That way of thinking must anger the immigrant community, who for years has suffered through millions of deportations under the Obama administration.  It seems like a cruel joke.  Using an excuse like that one to avoid working on immigration reform shows monumental insensitivity on the part of the Republican caucus.  The journey of the House majority when it comes to immigration so far has been a farce.  A ploy that seems to finish the same way that cheaters end up—blaming others to justify their own decisions.

Obama’s Executive Orders” regarding the possibility of executive action in light of congressional obstruction:

Executive orders are a real, although limited, alternative for President Obama, given the rabid obstructionism that the legislative opposition has demonstrated toward his initiatives.  They have become a necessary option in the current political climate…President Obama may be the only president who did not gain any political capital after winning his re-election, because of relentless legislative obstructionism.  Today, executive orders seem like the president’s best alternative to move forward the agenda that has come to a standstill in Congress.

Maribel Hastings: America’s Voice’s own, writes:

Republicans are running out of items on their list of excuses for inaction on immigration reform.  The most recent, used in reference to Obamacare, is that President Barack Obama is not  to be trusted because he is ‘unable’ to apply the laws as they are written, and, therefore, it isn’t worth it to pass a new immigration law.

The Republicans appear to be willing to ride the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) until it’s on its last legs. They’re catering to their base, but that base won’t be sufficient to reclaim the White House in 2016.  If Obama’s enforcement of immigration laws is the issue, just ask the nearly 2 million immigrants deported by this administration (a rate of 1,100 per day), including fathers, mothers, children, brothers or spouses who posed no threat to national security.  They could tell you themselves that yes, he is.  On this front, the government has implemented the law fervently, even to a fault; it’s overlooked its own prosecutorial-discretion policy, which is supposed to force agents to focus on serious criminals and not on those who would be able to legalize under the same immigration reform bill the President himself supports.

So, one more time, the immigrant community, its relatives and friends, and the citizens and legal residents who support them are all between a rock and a hard place: between a Republican Party which offers only fallacies and absurdities in place of a legislative solution, and a Democratic administration that deports immigrants in record numbers…In the middle of this political and electoral wrestling match, the ‘collateral damage’ continues to fall on immigrants and their families, who once again see their lives and destinies used as political pawns in the cruelest imaginable game of chess.

Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, leading champion of bipartisan immigration reform (video available here):

Mr. Speaker, you cannot deport your way out of this.  You cannot ignore your way out of this.  You cannot blame-Obama your way out of this.  You must act for the good of your country.

Mr. Speaker, you are not going to be spared.  Kids will keep showing up to interrupt your breakfast as long as their parents are facing deportation and their communities are being ripped apart.  I believe he [Speaker Boehner] plans to come back to immigration reform.  The cost to the GOP politically is just too high if the GOP-controlled House blocks legislation this year.  You thought the Super Bowl was a blow out?  Wait until November 2016 if immigration reform is still hanging out there.

Mr. Speaker, that President Obama cannot be trusted to enforce immigration law?  That just doesn’t make any sense to anyone who follows this issue.  Every day, day after day, week after week and year after year, people are being ‘disappeared’ by our immigration enforcement machine.  Another 1,100 today.  And tomorrow.  Where is this generosity of spirit?  This lax, liberal, soft-heartedness you seem to imagine?  I wish you would tell the estimated 5,000 children currently in foster care because their parents are in detention or have already been deported.

I am going out to suburban Washington this evening to talk with the immigrants and advocates at Casa de Maryland.  I don’t suspect I will hear very much praise for President Obama’s ‘enlightened’ approach to deportations and detention tonight.  They are not waiting patiently for Speaker Boehner or anyone else in the Republican Caucus to make up their minds about whether or when to start legislating on this matter.