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“Let Us Help With You With That Non-Problem”: GOP Comes Up With A Non-Problem And We All Have To Drop Everything To Address It

It looks like Mitt Romney’s self-deportation immigration reform plan is working out better than anyone expected.

More Mexican immigrants have returned to Mexico from the U.S. than have migrated here since the end of the Great Recession, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of newly available government data from both countries. The same data sources also show the overall flow of Mexican immigrants between the two countries is at its smallest since the 1990s, mostly due to a drop in the number of Mexican immigrants coming to the U.S.

From 2009 to 2014, 1 million Mexicans and their families (including U.S.-born children) left the U.S. for Mexico, according to data from the 2014 Mexican National Survey of Demographic Dynamics (ENADID). U.S. census data for the same period show an estimated 870,000 Mexican nationals left Mexico to come to the U.S., a smaller number than the flow of families from the U.S. to Mexico.

A few years ago there was a non-problem that really got Donald Trump energized. This was the question of whether the president of the United States had actually been born in the United States where his mother and father went to college or if he had been born for some inexplicable reason in Kenya, where neither of them lived. Of course, it didn’t matter either way since his mother was a U.S. citizen, but it was a non-problem that we all had to discuss nonetheless.

Around the same time a new political force came into existence that called itself the Tea Party. “Tea” was an acronym for “Taxed Enough Already.” You want to know what the most remarkable thing was about this movement? As CBS News reported at the time, “as a share of the nation’s economy, Uncle Sam’s take this year will be the lowest since 1950, when the Korean War was just getting under way.”

In other words, these anti-government activists chose the moment of lowest real federal taxation in more than a half century to launch a ferocious anti-tax campaign. Again, a non-problem that suddenly became something we all had to discuss and reckon with.

We’ve had a lot of these non-problems if you think about it. There was the non-problem with Fast & Furious, which was an ill-advised program begun by the Bush administration. There was the non-problem of professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Shirley Sherrod and Solyndra and ACORN and in-person voter fraud and the IRS and the so-called Benghazi cover-up and the Ebola panic and now Syrian refugees.

We seem to be living in a political world that is driven less by problems than non-problems that the Republicans have dreamed up or trumped up.

Our biggest immediate problems are probably climate change and a crumbling infrastructure, which the Republicans seem incapable of doing anything about. Or, if you think our biggest problem is the rise of a new virulent terrorist organization in the Middle East that is now looking to strike the West, the Republicans are focused on the non-problem of 10,000 highly vetted refugees rather than the millions of lightly vetted tourists who come here each year. In other words, they want us to focus our attention and resources on something that won’t help and that will do nothing to address the actual threat.

But that’s the pattern here. That’s basically all we get with these people. They come up with a non-problem and we all have to drop everything to address it.

It’s not just Hillary’s damn emails that I’m sick of hearing about.

 

By: Martin Longman, Web Editor, Ten Miles Square, The Washington Monthly, November 20, 2015

November 22, 2015 Posted by | GOP, Immigration Reform, Mitt Romney | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The President’s Pivot”: The Tactical Move To Immigration Reform Is Brilliant, And Republicans Know It

“Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.”

That quote, from Sun Tzu’s ancient Chinese treatise “The Art of War,” perfectly captures President Obama’s strategic victory over Tea Party members of Congress on the government shutdown and the debt ceiling debate. It also explains his immediate pivot to another topic that Tea Partyers hate and over which their obstinacy is likely to get the party hammered again: comprehensive immigration reform.

This is a brilliant tactical move on the president’s part. And Republicans know it.

As the G.O.P. was nearing its moment of collapse on the shutdown and debt ceiling, Representative Raúl Labrador, Republican of Idaho, said, “I think it’d be crazy for the House Republican leadership to enter into negotiations with him on immigration.” He continued: “And I’m a proponent of immigration reform. So I think what he’s done over the last two and a half weeks — he’s trying to destroy the Republican Party. And I think that anything we do right now with this president on immigration will be with that same goal in mind: which is to try to destroy the Republican Party and not to get good policies.”

The conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer laid out the president’s calculus more bluntly on Fox News: “With immigration, he wins either way. I’m not sure he thinks he can get it passed, seeing the resistance among the Republicans to the deal over the budget. I think he knows he’s not going to have a good chance of getting immigration through, but he thinks — and he’s probably right — that he can exploit this for the midterm election as a way to gin up support, for the Democrats to portray the Republicans as anti-immigrant, anti-Hispanic, etc.”

Republicans have a tough choice.

They can ride shotgun once again with the politically suicidal Tea Party faction, a group that the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found this week to be “less popular than ever.” They can allow the most strident voices on the far right that oppose comprehensive immigration reform — Rush Limbaugh has likened it to the Republican Party’s “authoring its demise” — to direct their path and further alienate Hispanic voters, who are increasingly coming to see the party as an unwelcoming place. Mitt Romney lost the Hispanic vote by 44 points last year, and the Republican National Committee’s own autopsy on that loss surmised:

“If Hispanic Americans perceive that a G.O.P. nominee or candidate does not want them in the United States (i.e., self-deportation), they will not pay attention to our next sentence. It does not matter what we say about education, jobs or the economy; if Hispanics think we do not want them here, they will close their ears to our policies.”

Or Republicans can take the less likely path and demonstrate that they’ve been cowed enough to move ahead on a major piece of legislation that is supported by the majority of the American people — a July Gallup poll found that 71 percent of Americans believe that passing immigration reform is important. And that would be good not just for the president’s legacy but for the health of the country as a whole.

In a 2012 paper published by the Cato Institute, Raúl Hinojosa Ojeda, director of the North American Integration and Development Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, used computing models to estimate the following:

“Comprehensive immigration reform generates an annual increase in U.S. G.D.P. of at least 0.84 percent. This amounts to $1.5 trillion in additional G.D.P. over 10 years. It also boosts wages for both native-born and newly legalized immigrant workers.”

Comprehensive immigration reform is the right thing and the thing that Americans want. But the far right is hardly concerned with what’s right and has little appetite for agreeing with the will of the majority of the American people (despite talking ad nauseam about standing up for the American people).

The far right is angry at the government and the man at the top of it. According to a Pew Research report released Friday: “Anger at the federal government is most pronounced among Tea Party Republicans. Fully 55 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who agree with the Tea Party say they are angry with the federal government — about double the percentage among non-Tea Party Republicans (27 percent) and Democrats and Democratic leaners (25 percent).”

They have been blinded by that anger. The president knows that. And he knows that blind soldiers don’t often win battles. In choosing to pivot to immigration reform, he has created a win-win scenario for himself and the Democrats. Clever, clever.

 

By: Charles M. Blow, Op-Ed Columnist, The New York Times, October 18, 2013

October 20, 2013 Posted by | Immigration Reform | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“You Can’t Fix Stupid”: Reince Priebus Tries To Stop Republicans From Saying More Dumb Things About Immigration

In an effort to reshape the debate over immigration reform, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus harshly criticized Mitt Romney’s self-deportation comments from the 2012 GOP primary while speaking to reporters on Thursday.

Republican leaders have long feared the current dialogue could doom the party with Latino voters in a repeat of the 2007 reform effort, which was shut down by a revolt by the GOP base.

“Using the word ‘self-deportation’ — it’s a horrific comment to make,” Priebus said. “I don’t think it has anything to do with our party. When someone makes those comments, obviously, it hurts us.”

“The answer is self-deportation, which is people decide they can do better by going home because they can’t find work here because they don’t have legal documentation to allow them to work here,” Romney said during the Florida debate held shortly after he lost the South Carolina primary to Newt Gingrich. “And so we’re not going to round people up.”

Priebus defended the progress his party has made with Latino voters since the release of the so-called GOP autopsy. He also ripped comments by Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who has continually offered comments offensive to Latino voters followed by stern defenses of those comments.

“Well, of course, it’s hurtful,” Priebus said, in reference to King’s comment that for every undocumented valedictorian there were hundreds of drug smugglers with calves the size of cantaloupes. “Of course, it hurts. … Just, not good.”

King is the public face of the war against reform, and he insists he’s speaking for many members who don’t want to come forward, a claim that makes sense as House Republicans overwhelmingly supported his recent bill to deport undocumented young people.

The congressman recently said that a “spell” has been cast over his party on the issue of immigration, which The Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent sees as a positive sign for the immigration reform debate.

The Senate passed immigration reform in the spring with more than two-thirds supporting the bill. The House GOP has refused to consider the Senate’s plan and is weighing how to proceed with reform in a way that can get the support of a majority of the Republican caucus, which is Speaker John Boehner’s stated standard for bringing any legislation to the floor.

There has been relatively little backlash from the Republican base about reform over the August recess, meanwhile, several House Republicans — including Reps. Jeff Denham (R-CA), Aaron Schock (R-IL) and Dan Webster (R-FL) – have made positive statements for reform that include a “path to citizenship,” which is a key demand of many reform advocates.

Passing immigration reform was the one specific policy recommendation in Priebus’ autopsy. Many of the GOP’s most prominent donors, including Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers, want reform. However, most House Republicans — who primarily come from safe, white districts — don’t seem to be feeling the pressure.

By calling out comments of his fellow Republicans, Priebus may not be able to make reform happen. But he’s hoping to keep it from getting ugly — or, at least, uglier.

 

By: jason Sattler, The National Memo, August 16, 2013

August 17, 2013 Posted by | GOP, Immigration Reform | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Self-Deportation Can’t Be Rebranded”: Wording The Explanation Differently Doesn’t Change The Meaning

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) appeared on “Meet the Press” last weekend and said something interesting about the Republican Party and its approach to immigration policy.

“[T]he politics of self-deportation are behind us,” Graham said. “Mitt Romney is a good man. He ran in many ways a good campaign, but it was an impractical solution, quite frankly. It was offensive. Every corner of the Republican Party from libertarians, the RNC, House Republicans and the rank and file Republican Party member is now understanding there has to be an earned pathway to citizenship.”

For those hoping to see comprehensive immigration reform this year, it was a heartening sentiment. It was also mistaken — the politics of self-deportation are still at the core of many GOP contingents.

A pocket of conservatives is lashing out privately and publicly against broad immigration reform and could seriously complicate any momentum for a House deal. […]

Some in the party want to solve the problem much the same way that Mitt Romney did in 2012.

[Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California] said: “You make sure that people who are here illegally do not get jobs, and they don’t get benefits and they will go home. It’s called attrition. I don’t happen to believe in deportation. If you make sure they don’t get jobs and they don’t get benefits, I mean Mitt [Romney] called it self-deportation, but it’s not; it’s just attrition. They’ll go home on their own.”

What I love about this quote is its amazing effort to try to rebrand “self-deportation,” as if the meaning of the phrase can change if the explanation is worded slightly differently. For Rohrabacher, he doesn’t want mass deportation from the government; he just wants to create an environment in which undocumented immigrants’ lives are made so miserable, they’ll “go home on their own.”

Rohrabacher says, however, this is “not” self-deportation, which it obviously is. In fact, he’s describing the policy precisely.

“[T]he politics of self-deportation are behind us”? We should be so lucky.

If I had to guess, I’d say the odds of the Senate approving an immigration bill are quite good — it’s not a sure thing, but the smart money says a reform bill will pass the upper chamber. But whether the radicalized House Republican majority will tolerate a popular, bipartisan bill is a much tougher question.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, April 12, 2013

April 15, 2013 Posted by | Immigration, Immigration Reform | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Republicans And “Humane Self-Deportation”: A Nightmare Of Perpetual Harassment

It didn’t get the attention it merited because of the focus on the GOP’s usual platform plank endorsing a constitutional amendment to ban abortions without rape-and-incest exceptions, but the Romney-approved 2012 platform confirmed the party’s lack of interest in out-performing John McCain among Latinos. Julia Preston of the New York Times has a succinct summary:

In their debates this week in Tampa, Fla., over the party platform, Republican delegates hammered out an immigration plank calling for tough border enforcement and opposing “any forms of amnesty” for illegal immigrants, instead endorsing “humane procedures to encourage illegal aliens to return home voluntarily,” a policy of self-deportation.

I like that modifier “humane.” I suppose the idea is that it is more “humane” to make the lives of undocumented workers–and perhaps some documented immigrants as well–an un-American nightmare of perpetual harassment than to pursue some unstated alternative: presumably loading whole families into cattle cars and shipping them south (which would also be monstrously expensive). The trouble, of course, is that the “humane” strategy depends implicitly on making like miserable for anyone who might conceivably be undocumented in the eyes of the various authorities charged with various elements of the campaign to “encourage” self-deportation. We are somehow expected to believe this will not lead to “ethnic profiling” of Latinos, but nobody much buys it. To put it bluntly, jurisdictions like Alabama and Georgia, not to mention Joe Arpaio’s Arizona, do not have a great deal of credibility when it comes to disinterested enforcement of laws clearly aimed at particular demographic categories of the population.

So even as Republicans continue to claim they only want to enforce existing immigration laws, they are pursuing not only policies but a general philosophy guaranteed to repel Latino voters. Ron Brownstein estimates that Romney will need a percentage of the white vote equivalent to that won by George H.W. Bush in his easy 1988 victory over Mike Dukakis. No wonder Republicans are going to lengths in appealing to white voters that are so highly reminiscent of Lee Atwater’s strategy that year.

 

By: Ed Kilgore, Contributing Writer, Washington Monthly Political Animal, August 27, 2012

August 28, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012, Immigration | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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