Following a procedural vote that failed on the Senate floor this evening, in which Senators Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) attempted to pass a procedural motion so they could bring forward a bill that would prevent future executive action on immigration by President Obama and strip work permits from DACA recipients, Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, had this to say:
Senators Jeff Sessions and Ted Cruz wanted to bring up an ugly anti-immigrant proposal, and hoped to put Democratic Senators in tough re-election races in the cross hairs. In what was clearly a choreographed play, once Democrats had enough votes to defeat their motion, four Democrats in tough re-election races – Sens. Kay Hagan (D-NC), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA) – voted with the Republicans (Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) voted with the Republicans, too). I guess the idea was to shield them from anti-immigrant attack ads in those tight races.
What does it mean? Well, with the country on the brink of going to war, it’s disheartening that this is the kind of game-playing Republicans insist on. Moreover, it signifies that the nativist wing is firmly in control of the GOP’s immigration strategy. In the Senate, Ted Cruz and Jeff Sessions are driving the bus. Over in the House it’s Reps. Steve King (R-IA) and Michele Bachmann (R-MN). The lurch back to the hard right is now complete. It suggests just what lays ahead for the next two years should the Republicans take control of the Senate.
Finally, it means that the GOP doesn’t give a damn about Latino, Asian-American and immigrant voters. Voting en masse so the Senate could deny hard working immigrants the chance to live freely and without fear in America means that 2012 was but a dress rehearsal for what awaits them in 2016 – that is, if Democrats stop running from immigration and start leaning into it once again. The country wants somebody to do something to give the 11 million undocumented immigrants a chance to live and work legally. With Republicans having blocked the best chance at immigration reform in a generation, it’s time for the President and Democrats to make it happen and for Republicans to pay the price for opposing it.