At the Capitol, House Speaker John Boehner stated a specific policy preference Tuesday that will alienate the entire Democratic Party if he adheres to it, and thus doom the reform effort. And elsewhere in the Beltway, influential conservatives have grown more confident and explicit about abandoning the immigration issue, for at least a couple of years.
Taken together, it means that enacting new immigration legislation will either require Democrats to cave on a key demand, or require Boehner to abandon his preference and break his word to his conference that he won’t move ahead without a majority of his members in support.
“It’s clear from everything that I’ve seen and read over the last couple of weeks that the American people expect that we’ll have strong border security in place before we begin the process of legalizing and fixing our legal immigration system,” Boehner said outside the Capitol Monday afternoon. His spokesman Michael Steel explains that the statement is consistent with Boehner’s “long-standing emphasis on border security.
”But it amounts to a de facto endorsement of the conservative view that any steps to legalize existing immigrants should be contingent upon implementation of draconian border policies. As is Boehner’s custom, it also eschews the word “citizenship,” suggesting that even if Democrats agree to a trigger, he won’t guarantee that it would be aimed at a full amnesty program, and, thus, eventual voting rights for immigrants already in the U.S.
So this is what it's come to. Because House Republicans are so afraid of their 21st Century Know Nothing base, they don't want to pass any real CIR legislation. Yet because at least some of them also recognize the political risk of killing CIR, they're now trying to blame someone else for their own politically craven act(s).
This is why G-O-TEA "leaders" have been grasping at straws and blaming everything from Benghazi to the IRS to terrorism to LGBTQ civil rights to health care reform for their own decision to kill immigration reform. Funny enough, these are the same people who always lecture everyone else on "personal responsibility". Why won't they take their own advice?
Oh, yes. That's right. Rep. Joe Heck (R-"TEA" Drinker) is always here to remind us.
Heck wasn’t just pandering to his conservative audience; he had said something similar last year when he addressed the Hispanics in Politics group in Las Vegas. The 14th Amendment was added to the Constitution after the Civil War to overrule the Supreme Court’s notorious Dred Scott decision that denied citizenship to black slaves. The high court has subsequently ruled that the amendment confers citizenship on all children born on American soil, no matter the legal status of their parents. “We’re one of the only industrialized counties that grants birthright citizenship,” Heck added after the Republican meeting.
Hispanic leaders say it’s hard to reconcile Heck’s claim to be open to a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants with his willingness to question the widely held interpretation of the citizenship clause. That’s turf typically tread only by Republican hard-liners such as Rep. Steve King of Iowa and former Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado.
Heck also rattled the Hispanic community when he voted for King’s amendment earlier this month cutting funding to Obama’s popular policy to halt deportations of illegal immigrants brought here as children. The national Democratic Party responded with a scathing Spanish-language radio ad against nine vulnerable Republicans, including Heck, who defended the vote as a repudiation of the president for sidestepping Congress with an executive order. But the vote feels personal, not political, to some of Heck’s supporters.
Their preferred policies are incredibly toxic, and so are their politics. And now, House Republicans are going for this political Hail Mary of a blame game in hopes of making their own hot mess of killing reform magically go away. Do they really think we're all that stupid?