Thursday, August 29, 2013

Blame Game

This week, we're looking at the progress of civil rights, as well as the ongoing civil rights struggles of our time . On Monday, we examined the current state of the struggle for comprehensive immigration reform (CIR).

Unfortunately, it became clearer yesterday that G-O-TEA "leaders" were planning apl along to kill CIR. Their latest and greatest excuse now is that "budget negotiations" must take precedence over any immigration legislation. But in reality, they've devised yet another manufactured crisis to force-feed the nation with even more destructive austerity. And now, they're seeking a "two-fer" in using their austerity fetish as an excuse to kill CIR as well!

Today even more Republicans are whispering this, so it's looking increasingly official. Even as prominent Republicans, such as 2008 Presidential Nominee and current Senator John McCain (R-Arizona), beg their party to reconsider, the House G-O-TEA gang look to be dead-set against reform. And as Jonathan Bernstein noted yesterday, they're the ones to blame for CIR's tortuous demise.

What this is really about is looking for excuses, even far-fetched ones, for why they’re not doing comprehensive immigration reform without actually admitting that they’re against comprehensive immigration reform.

It’s not going to wash. Republicans don’t have to actually vote in favor of a bill, but if they refuse to allow it to be considered (and, therefore, to pass over their objections with a coalition of mostly Democratic votes), then the groups who want a bill are going to blame Republicans, and John Boehner, for it.

It remains very simple. If most mainstream conservative Republicans in the House want comprehensive immigration reform to pass, it will pass. If they don’t, it won’t. It really is that simple. Anything else you hear is poor analysis or spin.

Immigrant rights advocates are clearly frustrated over the lack of progress in the House. Some are even starting to go as far as saying there will be hell to pay if CIR indeed dies in the House by the end of the year. Perhaps this may be the only message Congress ultimately responds to.

It hasn't had to be this way. If enough House Republicans (hint: NV-02, hint: NV-03) were willing to sign a discharge petition, the House would be on the way to passing CIR legislation and getting this ordeal over with. But as long as they let the 21st Century Know Nothings call the shots, CIR will die a painful and ugly death on Capitol Hill.

And ultimately, they will be the ones to blame.

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