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“Drag-Racing Off A Political Cliff”: Republicans Attack Immigrants While Putting America In Danger

The House of Representatives’ Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding bill, which is really a law seeking the mass deportations of undocumented people, including children, died on the Senate floor, victim of arithmetic certainty.

Mathematical reality seems to be a challenge to the GOP House majority. While most Americans have heard about the 60-vote rule in the U.S. Senate that impacts most legislation — the cloture/filibuster, as it is commonly known — House Republicans insist in passing bills that cannot make that threshold, and are subsequently dismayed that their legislation dies an ignominious death.

Yet once again, and this would now seem to be par for the course for Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) House, Republicans have passed a bill that, with zero support of Senate Democrats, failed to meet the basic 60-vote threshold — three times.

It has been clear for some time that Democrats will not support the liquidation of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. Moreover, should such a bill pass by some deus ex machina event, the president would veto it.

So why insist on passing a bill that cannot become law? One must assume that the potency of a quixotic quest to achieve the impossible is irresistible to many members of the Republican caucus in the House. Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) seemed to insist that two plus two does not equal four when he told The Hill that “There’s not a Plan B, because this is the plan.”

In other words, after the mass deportation bill crashed and burned in the Senate, the House has no other plan, no other path forward to fund America’s shield from terrorism, Homeland Security.

Showing the triumph of ideology over logic, The Hill further reports that Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) said before the Senate vote that: “[M]any of us agree that we should stand behind the one bill that we sent over there. Most of us feel that way. … Anything less than that, we’re not going to get any better result anyway. So why not just go for what’s really right?”

Of course, the obvious “better result” would be not to put America’s security at risk, and instead pass a clean DHS funding bill that would keep the nation safe. Immigration can always be tackled as a separate issue by the Republican-controlled Congress.

In fact, Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) recently told me on my radio show that the House leadership has given immigration-reform Republicans encouragement to develop a set of sweeping immigration reform bills. So at least in the pro-arithmetic wing of the Republican Caucus, there is a reality-based path forward to deal with immigration without the perennial government shutdown threat — implicit in Scalise’s “not a Plan B” comment — that has become Republicans’ go-to tactic for forcing through their agenda when they fail to muster the votes necessary to pass legislation in both chambers.

It would be refreshing to see the big House Republican majority have as much passion for governing as they do for deportation. As Americans look at our society, polling clearly suggests that bread-and-butter issues dominate the agenda of the people. The economy, of course, and education, healthcare and the sense of economic insecurity that hangs like a shadow over most American families are the issues that should be tackled by a giant majority with ambitions to govern for more than two years.

I have yet to see one poll in which Americans rank mass deportations of undocumented immigrants as a top priority. Moreover, it’s hard to imagine that Americans favor such deportations over the continued funding and smooth operation of the country’s principal anti-terrorist agency, DHS.

Ironically, the party that has claimed the mantle of being the true fighters against a global jihadist threat is willing to drag-race off a political cliff to deport people rather than fund Homeland Security.

This is a choice that has both practical and symbolic resonance. The practical impact is obvious: Even one day, contrary to Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart’s (R-Fla.) jaunty declaration otherwise, when DHS is not funded is one day too many. Republicans willfully weakening America’s national security would be irresponsible, bordering on seditious.

And the political and symbolic effects would also be notable. Will Americans easily forget that Republicans bet with their safety, indeed the safety of the nation, for the unachievable policy goals of deporting millions of people?

Perhaps we’re seeing here the inherent weakness of a Republican majority so divided among ideologies and passions that it is literally incapable of governing for the benefit of the nation.

At the very least, we are witness to the fact that even GOP leaders such as Rep. Scalise are a little weak on the universal truths of basic arithmetic.

 

By: Fernando Espuelas, Univision America Host; THe Blog, The Huffington Post, February 6, 2015

February 8, 2015 Posted by | Deportation, Immigration Reform, National Security | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Why Is This Issue Going Nowhere?”: How Eric Cantor’s Killing Immigration Reform

“Gentlemen, start your engines.” That message, played repeatedly in a commercial beamed on the Jumbotron at this year’s Indianapolis 500, had nothing to do with race cars. A coalition of faith, business, and law enforcement leaders used the iconic event to launch their call for House Republicans to get moving on immigration reform.

“It’s time for effective, common-sense, and accountable solutions that respect and enhance the rule of law,” says Mark Curran, a Lake County, Illinois sheriff in the commercial.

Unfortunately, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor can’t shift gears. The Virginia Republican won’t allow the most incremental of immigration bills, known as the ENLIST Act, to go forward.

This bill would let immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children to enlist in the military. If they serve and are honorably discharged, they would then be eligible for a green card, which would put them on a path to citizenship.

These are young people who didn’t choose to come here. Their parents brought them. An opportunity to serve in the military would give them a chance to demonstrate their loyalty to the United States. In the long run, the ENLIST Act would allow these folks to become full, productive members of society.

Naturally, the ENLIST Act has a broad support base. Republican Jeff Denham of California introduced the measure, which 26 Democrats and 24 Republicans co-sponsored.

Conservative commentator Linda Chavez called the ENLIST Act “the right — and principled — thing to do,” in her syndicated column.

When asked about the ENLIST Act, Cantor suggested that he supported it. “If you’ve got a kid that was brought here by their parents — unbeknownst to the child — and that they’ve grown up in this country and not known any other, and they want to serve in our military, they ought to be allowed to do that and then have the ability to become a citizen after that kind of service,” he told Politico.

But actions speak louder than words. Cantor blocked the ENLIST Act from being included in a military authorization bill, and it doesn’t look likely that it will come up for a vote anytime soon.

Meanwhile, the public continues to support an overhaul of our broken immigration system. Even Fox News pollsters find that most Americans support reform, including majorities of Republican voters. In fact, a May poll conducted by conservative advocacy groups found that Tea Party Republican voters favor immigration reform. The Tea Party Express and Americans for Prosperity report that over 70 percent of Tea Party-aligned voters want Congress to pass immigration legislation this year.

It seems like everyone is on board. Why is this issue going nowhere?

For one thing, Cantor isn’t willing to lead on immigration. If he won’t permit a vote on something as narrowly targeted as the ENLIST Act, it’s doubtful that House Republicans will tackle a more comprehensive approach.

That’s a loss for our military, which will lose out on a group of qualified, dedicated recruits. And it’s a loss for the Republican Party, which is destined to win scant numbers of Latino voters in 2016. More importantly, our country as a whole will suffer if our broken immigration system continues to hobble along as is.

Sure, illegal immigration is contentious. Representative Steve King, an Iowa Republican, has compared offering undocumented veterans citizenship to “handing out candy at a parade.” But one study showed that non-citizen enlistees were “far more likely to complete their enlistment obligations successfully than their U.S.-born counterparts.”

King himself avoided serving in Vietnam in the 1960s through multiple deferments. How ironic that he and his colleagues are now squashing the military service dreams of others.

Of course, not all undocumented immigrants want or are able to serve in the armed forces. They still deserve a chance to get right with the law, pay fines and back taxes, and become citizens.

But young immigrants who are willing to put their lives on the line for our country should be allowed to do so. It’s time to pass the ENLIST Act, then move ahead with immigration reform.

 

By: Paul A. Reyes, The National Memo, June 6, 2014

 

June 9, 2014 Posted by | Eric Cantor, Immigration Reform | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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