As two must-reads by Jim Newell of Salon and Dara Lind of Vox highlight, recent comments from Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) suggesting the possibility of reform in 2015 are a trap designed to prevent the President from taking executive action that would protect millions of people. Here’s why the President would be wise to blow past Boehner’s comments and go big on administrative relief:
Jim Newell of Salon, “Boehner springs another lame trap: Why Obama must ignore his latest overtures about immigration,” writes:
You’re laughing, right? You should be laughing. Hopefully President Obama isn’t falling for it again. We’re too far along in this administration for this sort of thing. The Republican House and (likely) Republican Senate are not going to pass bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform with anything resembling legal status for undocumented immigrants next year, and any murmuring about the possibility of that is simply John Boehner trying to manipulate the Democrats into not pursuing what’s in its interest. What’s in the Democratic party’s interest is to secure a key and growing part of its base — Hispanics — with results, however it can, over and over, until Republicans are forced to accept its demographic disadvantage and come to the table for a legislative deal.
That won’t happen in the Obama presidency. His ‘legacy’ will never include bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform. His legacy could, however, include serious executive action that lifts the threat of deportation for millions of families. It would be the proper and humane policy, and it would put more heat on the Republican party, eventually, to reinvent itself.
Dara Lind of Vox, “Is Boehner setting a trap for Obama on immigration reform?” explains:
This has happened before, however. This spring, Boehner made remarks about the need for Republicans to pass immigration reform. And so, in response, President Obama paused his ongoing review of deportation policy — in the hopes of giving Republicans one last chance to get reform together. But nothing came of it. Even if Boehner was serious about getting his caucus together to pass reform in May, the GOP got scared by Eric Cantor’s defeat in a primary election, and then by the child-migrant crisis. In response, Obama restarted the policy review in June — and broadened the scope of possible changes, including potential fixes to the legal immigration system…
…the more forcefully Obama commits now to doing something after the elections, the harder it’s going to be for him to back out of it afterwards.
And if Boehner is dangling the prospect of Congressional immigration reform out there in the press, and Obama is more interested in repairing his relationship with the base than with extending an olive branch to Republicans, that makes the situation right now very different from the one in May. It’s a strong indication that Obama no longer trusts Boehner to hold up his end of the deal.
According to Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice:
Boehner talks a good game, but actions speak louder than words. The House vote record is clear: when it comes to immigration bills, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) is king of the House. Period. There will be no votes on broad, pro-immigrant laws in the Republican-controlled House next year.
It’s transparent and obvious that Boehner is playing games to keep the President from acting. That’s all the more reason why Obama should.