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More Voices Call Paul Ryan on His Immigration Bluff

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Lynn Tramonte: “Speaker Ryan is Picking Up Where Speaker Boehner Left Off, with Disastrous Consequences for the Country as Well as Their Own Party”

Washington, DC—Another day, another round of criticism, calling out Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) for his capitulation to the most extremist members of his party on immigration.

Here are some of the key highlights from today’s critique:

    Minneapolis Star Tribune Editorial Board: Speaker Ryan Plays Politics with Immigration Reform. Writes the editorial board at the Star Tribune, “[Ryan’s immigration comments stand] in stark contrast to Ryan’s statements just five days ago, when he said, upon assuming his new role, that Republicans and Democrats should ‘pray for a deeper understanding’ of one another and work together as representatives of the American people rather than as partisans.  Apparently that understanding and cooperation does not extend to the president of the United States…Just last month the Star Tribune Editorial Board praised Ryan for his collegiality and ability to respectfully hear out policy differences. Those are the qualities he needs to bring to bear now. The speaker should honor his earlier instincts on cooperation and understanding and strive to make good use of the year that lies ahead.”
    Steve Benen: Ryan Removes All Doubt, Says Immigration Reform is Dead. As Steve Benen writes in the Maddow Blog on MSNBC, “Let’s not forget that in February 2014 – nearly two years ago – Democratic congressional leaders endorsed changing immigration reform proposals so that they wouldn’t take effect until 2017. In other words, if Republican contempt for President Obama is so blinding that GOP lawmakers won’t pass laws for the White House to implement, Democrats stand ready to address these concerns by ensuring the measures wouldn’t be implemented until the next president takes office…The reason[ for this] is simple: most congressional Republicans don’t want to pass immigration reform. Every time they come up with a new demand, Democrats agree to it, prompting GOP officials to come up with new demands.  Why does this matter? Aside from the obvious substantive concern – the current system is broken and needs a comprehensive solution – this is the message Republicans will take to the public in the 2016 elections. Voters concerned about immigration will ask why the GOP killed bipartisan reform measures – before and after the administration’s executive actions – and Republicans will desperately try to blame the president.  For anyone who cares at all about reality, their attempts to pass the buck are impossible to take seriously.”
    Jonathan Capehart: Why Speaker Ryan Can’t Be ‘Trusted’ on Obama and Immigration. As Jonathan Capehart explainsin the Washington Post, the biggest takeaway from Ryan’s comments is not about President Obama’s trustworthiness to “adhere” to the rule of law, but rather the Republican Party’s trustworthiness to get anything done. He writes, “Rather than advance the Senate bill, the House under Boehner sued Obama to stop him and voted to block funding for his immigration orders. Meanwhile, Obama’s immigration actions were stopped by a federal injunction last February until there is resolution of lawsuits filed by 26 states that deem the president’s actions unconstitutional.  So, states have taken the president to court because they think he overstepped his constitutional authority by taking executive action on immigration. An action he took because the House refused to advance a bipartisan bill from the Senate in order to placate a far-right claque that will accept nothing less than zip-locking the border and deporting all illegal immigrants. This isn’t about trusting the president, Speaker Ryan.  This is about Republican leadership that can’t be trusted to do anything to start fixing the problem.”
    Nancy Pelosi: A Brief Lesson in Immigration History for Speaker Paul Ryan. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi issued a fresh timeline for Speaker Ryan, reminding him of previous immigration related executive actions dating by to 1956; recent House GOP attempts to pass anti-immigrant legislation; and the backdrop of broken immigration promises from his predecessor.  As the blog states, “Americans know what Mr. Ryan really meant to say: that extremist, radical GOP Members still control the gavel, and so it’s easier to simply blame President Obama for the GOP’s failure to join Democrats in providing a fix to our broken immigration system.”
    Maribel Hastings: Political Suicide: GOP Gives Up On The Hispanic Vote, Again. Maribel Hastings, Senior Advisor at America’s Voice, warns of the political perils facing the GOP in the wake of Ryan’s anti-immigrant promise.  As she writes in anew op-ed, “Ryan should know better.  In 2012 he hoped to be Mitt Romney’s vice president and he defended the candidate’s platform of self-deportation which helped them garner just 27% of the Latino vote—costing them the White House.  Following this debacle, Ryan sided up to the Illinois Democrat Representative Luis Gutiérrez and Republican Hispanics who tried, without success, to advance reform with a path to citizenship along the lines that Ryan once supported…It’s a shame that he has bowed to the pressure of the anti-immigrant wing of Congress.  Although we have four months to go until voting begins in the GOP caucuses and primaries, and one year until the presidential elections, Republicans keep signaling the fact that they are giving up the Hispanic vote.”
    Frank Wilkinson: Reining In Ryan, Stopping Rubio. Frank Wilkinson of Bloomberg View explains how Ryan’s acquiescence to the Party’s nativist wing on immigration could have major implications for other Republicans who have backtracked from previous pro-reform stances.  Case in point: Marco Rubio.  As Wilkinson writes, “The first test of whether immigration crushes Republican dreams may well be Senator Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican who has emerged as the auxiliary candidate in case of Jeb Bush emergency. Rubio ran against “amnesty” in 2010, supported immigration reform in the Senate in 2013, then turned against it when the political tide shifted. In the process he earned the mistrust of both the immigration opponents he burned initially and the advocates he betrayed later. Immigration restrictionists have already brought Ryan to heel. And they have helped keep Bush from gaining traction in the presidential contest. If they also manage to arrest Rubio’s momentum, they will remove any remaining doubt about which faction controls the Republican agenda. Satisfying their hard demands while scrambling to cobble an electoral majority in 2016 will take more than a little white lie. It will take a great white wave.”

According to Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice, “When will so-called Republican ‘leaders’ realize that capitulating to the Rep. Steve King (R-IA) wing of the Party exposes their fundamental weakness: an inability to lead?  ‘We Republicans can’t address an important issue, because President Obama is addressing an important issue after we failed to address an important issue.’  Give me a break.  The country deserves better than that.  Speaker Ryan is picking up where Speaker Boehner left off, with disastrous consequences for the country as well as the Speaker’s own Party.”