Tuesday, February 4, 2014

What's He Talking About?

Last week, House Republican "leaders" unveiled their long awaited "principles for immigration reform". Yet while those "principles" didn't really seem all that principled, some media pundits nonetheless rejoiced because they were better than nothing. And now that Republicans have "principles" to rally around, then they must finally be preparing to pass some sort of comprehensive immigration reform (CIR)... Right?

Wrong. Already, top House Republicans are already running away from their own "principles". Why? Of course, it must be President Obama's fault!

When questioned by [ABC News' George] Stephanopoulos on whether the President would have an immigration bill to sign at the end of the year, [Rep. Paul] Ryan [R-Wisconsin] said, “I really don’t know the answer to that question. That is clearly in doubt. It depends on whether they’re willing to actually secure the border, actually have interior enforcement and not — and agree to not having an amnesty. If we can do that, where it’s security first, no amnesty, then we might be able to get somewhere.”

He added, ‘‘This isn’t a trust-but-verify, this is a verify-then-trust approach.”

Ryan has little reason to doubt Obama’s commitment based on his record. Statistics suggest Obama has been pretty willing thus far — nearly two million immigrants have been deported, “illegal entries are at a 40-year low,” there are more “boots on the ground” at the border than there have ever been in history, and the Senate bill would simultaneously secure the border and implement a biometric exit system that would track visa overstayers.

In fact, some progressives have criticized President Obama for deporting too many immigrants. Late last year, 29 House Democrats (including Rep. Dina Titus [D-Paradise]) sent a letter to President Obama urging him to halt deportations & expand DACA while immigrants are waiting for CIR to happen. So what is Paul Ryan talking about?

And what's he talking about when he says "amnesty"? Amnesty has never been on the table. Rather, S 744 contained plenty of border security & law enforcement provisions. And just over 3 months after S 744 passed the Senate in June, HR 15 was introduced in the House with the same border security & law enforcement provisions. And let's not forget that both bills would force undocumented immigrants to pay thousands of dollars worth of fines, learn English, go without any sort of publicly funded health insurance coverage, and endure a 13 year long wait before securing citizenship!

So what's Paul Ryan talking about? Both CIR bills introduced in Congress last year were anything but amnesty. And President Obama has gone to great lengths to enforce current immigration law. Why is he shooting down perhaps the last chance to pass CIR in the near future?

Is he just giving cover for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to permanently scuttle CIR? Is he trying to deflect blame from G-O-TEA backbenchers like Rep. Joe Heck (R-Henderson), backbenchers who risk losing if CIR is left by G-O-TEA "leadership" to die on the vine? Most likely, the answer to both questions is a resounding "Yes!" However, that's not all.

Let's remember why Reps. Boehner & Ryan are so afraid of bringing any kind of CIR to the House floor. Here's a hint: G-O-TEA Civil War. They simply don't want to do anything to antagonize the 21st Century Know Nothings too much. After all, they must save their "TEA" tinged political capital for the manufactured crisis.

So what's Paul Ryan talking about? In order to figure that out, we must dig through the political spin and uncover the reason why he and his fellow Republican "leaders" are so afraid of allowing any sort of sane, rational governance on Capitol Hill.

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