Spotlight: When the immigration debate turns farcical

Immigration reform supporters cheer at a rally on the National Mall in Washington

When the immigration debate turns farcical

>by: Steve Benen | 02/11/14 09:16 AM | MSNBC | Re-Post February 12, 2014 | Repost|

As the debate over immigration reform has unfolded, Republicans have made a series of demands – increased enforcement, bipartisan talks, piecemeal legislating, etc. – all of which Democrats have accepted. Yesterday, however, some GOP officials came up with new conditions that took the process to silly depths.

Immigration reform supporters cheer at a rally on the National Mall in Washington

Photo by GABRIELLA DEMCZUK/The New York Times/Redux
Immigration reform supporters cheer at a rally on the National Mall in Washington, Oct. 8, 2013.

To be sure, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) seemed to throw the ultimate curveball last week, saying immigration reform cannot pass so long as Republicans distrust President Obama to follow federal law. But Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) dealt with this, too, suggesting a delay in implementing the law until 2017 – when there will be a new president in the Oval Office.

In an amusing twist, one notable House Republican told Benjy Sarlin yesterday why that may not be good enough, either.
…Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, an influential voice in conservative policy circles, raised a different problem with the Schumer proposal to msnbc: The party’s concerns might not end with Obama.
“I don’t think that’s going to happen in our conference,” he said. “It’s not just that there’s a strong distrust of the president’s ability to function in good faith on this issue in light of what happened, but we don’t know who’s going to be president in 2017.”
Jordan may not have intended this to be funny, but it’s comedic nevertheless. The Ohio congressman effectively argued that House Republicans aren’t willing to leave enforcement in the hands of the next president because they may not like him or her, either.
By this reasoning, the House would presumably only pass immigration reform if Democrats could assure GOP lawmakers that a conservative Republican would be inaugurated in January 2017.
And if that weren’t enough, Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) went a little further, still.
The Arizona congressman presented Sarlin with an alternative approach to immigration reform that he could live with.
“I understand why a lot of folks are concerned and it’s strictly on the border enforcement and interior enforcement, but we should be passing legislation based on what’s right for the country not who the current actors are, who’s in office,” [Salmon] said.
His suggestion: Obama should request a border security bill alone from Congress, implement it this year, then come back and ask for reform.
Consider this in the larger context. When Senate Democrats and Senate Republicans sat down for talks on immigration policy, they built on a compromise framework: Democrats want a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants already in the United States; Republicans want increased border security. Broadly speaking, both sides could get what they want if they packaged the goals in a comprehensive agreement.
That, in turn, is exactly what senators did – they wrote and passed a comprehensive bill that included both sides’ goals, while getting support from stakeholders like business leaders, labor unions, immigrant advocates, and the religious community.
House Republicans have decided to kill that popular, bipartisan agreement without so much as a floor vote. What should they replace it with? According to Arizona’s Salmon, the ideal alternative is one in which Democrats give Republicans exactly what Republicans want, in exchange for nothing. If Dems agree, Republicans might consider Democratic goals a couple of years down the road.
It’s a striking position to take because it’s the ultimate in bad-faith negotiations. Boehner’s habit of constantly moving the goalposts is unfortunate, but Matt Salmon’s suggestion is that Republicans get 100% of what they want, while Democrats get 0% of what they want.
In the meantime, anyone interested in the overall trajectory of the policy debate should note that Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) thinks Boehner’s position is the right one.

Immigration groups ready ‘punishment’ for GOP

>by: Benjy Sarlin—Updated 02/11/14 04:51 PM | MSNBC |


According to FIRM (Fair Immigration Reform Movement), an umbrella group for a variety of pro-reform organizations, the new tactics signal a move into the “electoral punishment” phase of the debate.

“From now on, any lawmaker who does not support comprehensive immigration reform should expect relentless and constant confrontations that will escalate until they agree to support immigration reform,” Kica Matos, spokeswoman for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, told reporters in a conference call on Tuesday.

The groups behind the new “punishment” plan however, say they will not limit their actions to House members who oppose passing reform this year.

“No Republican is safe,” Matos said. “We are delivering a very clear message to the Republican party at large and that’s that they better move on reform and they better move on it now.”

Immigration activists also plan to continue pressuring the White House to suspend deportations for many undocumented immigrants who would be legalized under reform, a demand Obama has repeatedly resisted. But the new campaign makes clear that, despite Republicans’ best efforts to pin the blame for reform’s struggles on the White House, activists will hold the GOP accountable if things get off track.

Refusing to take ‘yes’ for an answer

>by: Steve Benen—Updated
Initially, congressional Republicans told Democrats, “We won’t consider immigration reform unless President Obama starts taking enforcement seriously.” The White House agreed and deportations reached a record high.
Soon after, congressional Republicans added, “We won’t consider immigration reform unless there’s a bipartisan bill.” Congressional Democrats agreed and a bipartisan compromise agreement took shape and passed the Senate.
Congressional Republicans then said, “We won’t consider immigration reform unless we can break up the legislation into chunks and approve the provisions piecemeal.” Democrats again agreed.
Finally, congressional Republicans concluded, “We can’t consider immigration reform because we perceive President Obama as an out-of-control radical who ignores federal laws.” Yesterday, Democrats signaled a willingness to accommodate this concern, too.
A key Democratic senator proposed to delay implementation of a proposed new law until after President Barack Obama leaves office. The suggestion floated by Sen. Charles Schumer, D- N.Y., was an attempt to mollify Republican concerns about Obama not enforcing the law.
“Let’s enact the law this year, but simply not let it actually start ‘til 2017 after President Obama’s term is over,” he said on NBC’s Meet the Press.
Schumer added, “I think the rap against him that he actually won’t enforce the law is false – he’s deported more people than any other president. But you could actually have the law start in 2017 without doing much violence to it.”

[Sen. Charles (Chuck)] Schumer has a point. Indeed, as Jonathan Cohn noted, immigration reform advocates were generally receptive to Schumer’s idea, in part because “they know federal agencies would need at least a year, and probably more time than that, to write the relevant regulations anyway.”

BMaQNufCUAEUQfIopExcuses, excuses, blame Obama and excuses…that’s all the right-wing got [sic]! The right-wing needs to come-up with excuses to say “Yes” or they will pay in the elections moving forward that’s if they care to win a major election. You can’t win alienating women, the young, LGBT groups and minorities and expect to win; it can’t be done – legally. The Republicans have been given a survival kit on numerous occasions, but they fail to use it and autopsies are performed on the dead!

Hey, Republicans, remember when you voted against bills that would help Veterans, Elderly, Women, Minorities, Gays, and Immigrants? These groups will remember your unprecedented obstruction and they’re coming for you!

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