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Despite Pledges of Responsible Governance, New GOP Majority Looks a Lot Like Old GOP on Immigration Policy

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As of later today, the Republican Party will officially control both congressional chambers.  GOP leaders in both the House and Senate have pledged to demonstrate their ability to govern in a responsible manner.  Yet when it comes to immigration policy, it is already clear the “new” Republican majority looks a lot like the old Republican Party that blocked comprehensive immigration reform.  

The GOP remains incapable and unwilling to seriously deal with the status of 11 million undocumented immigrants in the nation – which remains the single most pressing issue in immigration policy and the litmus test for responsible governance on the issue.  As a new Washington Post editorial captures, “no one can claim to have dealt with America’s broken immigration system without reckoning with the reality of 11 million unauthorized people.”  Instead, the Republican Party’s only legislative prescription for undocumented immigrants is to block executive action, repeal DACA and DAPA, and once again subject all undocumented immigrants in the nation to deportation.

“Instead of resolving issues like the status of undocumented immigrants in the nation, the Republican Party remains focused on undoing the temporary steps forward and progress we have made, while refusing to provide serious alternatives of their own, ” said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice.  “You cannot be a party of responsible governance on immigration while refusing to wrestle with the heart of the issue – what to do about 11 million undocumented immigrants in America.”

Today’s Washington Post editorial, excerpted below, calls out the Republicans for their unwillingness to seriously deal with the status of undocumented immigrants.

Republicans howled in November when President Obama used his executive powers to shield millions of illegal immigrants from deportation, accusing him of usurping Congress’s powers.  Yet as the GOP lays out its agenda for the new Congress, Republicans have had nothing useful to say about their own plans for addressing the problem of the 11 million immigrants who lack documentation…If the Republicans want to lend weight to Mr. Obama’s justification for his actions, they are doing a fine job.

…In announcing his executive action, Mr. Obama threw down a gauntlet to Republican leaders, daring them to seize the initiative, enact legislation to address the problem of illegal immigration and negate his unilateral move.  Rather than take the challenge, Republicans now appear intent on confirming their image as the party of no solution to the immigration dilemma.

Perhaps in the new Congress the GOP will enact a bill allowing holders of foreign passports to remain in this country more easily after graduating with advanced degrees from U.S. universities.  Such a measure would make sense as a means to limit the brain drain of U.S.-educated scientists, engineers, mathematicians and high-tech workers.

Perhaps Republicans will vote for further manpower and technology to tighten security on the Southwestern border, although it is already more tightly controlled than at any time in decades.

But no one can claim to have dealt with America’s broken immigration system without reckoning with the reality of 11 million unauthorized people.  The country needs their labor but refuses to allow them and their families any way out of the legal shadows…

…GOP congressional leaders, seeking to rebrand their party as one dedicated to accomplishment, have pledged quick action on energy and health care.  Yet no one will fail to notice the party’s continued inaction on this critical problem.