After Blocking Immigration Reform, GOP on Verge of Blocking Resources for Border Emergency
As Congress enters its last week of the July work period, the contrast between both parties could not be clearer. On all things immigration-related, Republicans seem hell-bent on blocking the President and Democrats at every turn. This will make it clear to all concerned that the President and the Democrats are alone in seeking solutions to both the emergency at the border and the 11 million undocumented immigrants settled in America.
As Jake Sherman and Seung Min Kim of Politico report:
House Republicans fear the backlash. They know their summer will be long if they cannot pass a bill to deal with the influx of migrant children at the Texas-Mexico border. Most of them know it’s the right thing to do — especially in an election year.
But it’s still far from clear it can get done.
This week, Republicans find themselves with the opportunity to set the narrative for the August recess. They will either go home having passed a bill to deal with the unaccompanied children coming primarily from Central America — and spend August talking about how Democrats didn’t help. Or they will fail, giving way to renewed criticism about their inability to rally around legislation to resolve what they themselves called a crisis.
One of the main reasons Republicans will be unable to attract Democratic support for their ideas on how to crack down on child refugees is that much of the GOP is now focusing on revoking the President’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. They make the incredible claim that a program for settled youth in America who arrived before June 2007 caused an exodus of children from three specific Central American countries in June 2014.
In a clear sign that the GOP’s obsession with DACA will make bipartisanship even with conservative Democrats impossible, Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), who has co-sponsored restrictions on the rights of children at the border with Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), warned Republicans over the weekend, “If they want to get rid of the DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] — the DREAM Act — then that’s a different thing. Then it’s a problem with me.”
Meanwhile, filling the likely leadership vacuum left by House Republicans, President Obama is already gearing up to take action on both the humanitarian emergency at the border as well as on the moral crisis of the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in this country.
As Christi Parsons, Brian Bennett, and Lisa Mascaro of the Los Angeles Times report:
Even as President Obama grapples with the crisis of immigrant children arriving at the Southwest border, White House officials are laying the groundwork for a large-scale expansion of immigrant rights that would come by executive action within weeks.
Officials signaled strongly Friday that Obama’s move would shield from deportation large numbers of immigrants living in the country illegally, as advocacy groups have demanded.
Roughly 5 million of the estimated 11 million people who entered the country without legal authorization or overstayed their visas could be protected under a leading option the White House is considering, according to officials who discussed the proposals on condition of anonymity.
Obama said last month that because Congress had failed to act on comprehensive immigration reform, he would take executive action to ‘fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own.’
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
Republicans just can’t help themselves when it comes to immigration. This Congress, the only immigration-related votes the House has taken have been on measures to repeal DACA and subject DREAMers to deportation. Now they’re using the current humanitarian crisis at the border to continue their attacks on Dreamers. The consequences are becoming crystal clear: President Obama and the Democrats are the only adults in the room, and will have to deal responsibly – and unilaterally – with both the humanitarian emergency at the border as well as the moral crisis of the undocumented settled in America.