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Monday, October 24, 2016

Newsmax Editor Urges GOP Leadership To ‘Embrace Obama’s Border Security Bill’

Newsmax Editor Urges GOP Leadership To ‘Embrace Obama’s Border Security Bill’

In this column, reprinted with permission from Newsmax, Christopher Ruddy, the conservative publication’s CEO and editor-in-chief, strongly suggests that congressional Republicans ought to cooperate with President Obama on border and immigration issues – and that their continuing recalcitrance may damage their party’s electoral prospects not only in November but long into the future.  

With an estimated 51,000 undocumented children having entered our border states, and another 40,000 expected by September, congressional Republicans should join with President Obama in embracing a strong border security bill.

President Obama has put forth a $3.7 billion bill that the House Appropriations Committee will take up as early as Tuesday. 

The Obama bill clearly needs some amending, but it offers a positive framework for improved border security and should not be dismissed. 

The new Obama law changes the existing William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, a 2008 statute that says minors who are not from Mexico or Canada are entitled to legal proceedings before they are deported.

Surprisingly, Obama has agreed this is not a good idea and wants to scrap it. He wants speedy deportations.

He is also asking for $400 million to secure the border and pay for additional border agents, as many have been moved to detention centers and other cities to deal with the humanitarian crisis.

Senate Democrats are not so happy with Obama’s bill, which will increase deportations and end the crisis. Congressional Republicans don’t like its $3.7 billion pricetag.

What should they do? Compromise.

The House should demand more money for border security, and stepped-up penalties for adults who illegally enter the U.S.

They won’t get a full border security bill, but they could tack on House Homeland Security Chair Mike McCaul’s Border Security Results Act, designated as H.R. 1417, that for the first time puts clear and comprehensive metrics on border security, helping to assess shortcomings.

The McCaul bill currently requires no additional revenue and allows for a two-year assessment period of the border. In 2013, the bill passed the House committee unanimously and had Democratic co-sponsors, including Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX); Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Henry Cuellar (D-TX).

For Republicans who understandably don’t trust the Obama administration, the McCaul plan makes Obama administration efforts at the border transparent, putting a clear onus on the administration to clean up the mess or risk voter anger.

The Republicans like complaining about the border crisis, but unlike Obama have yet to put forward a comprehensive plan in dealing with it.

My GOP friends, who were dumbstruck that Obama actually won the last election, still can’t seem to figure it out.

Sure, Obama’s approval rating is in the low 40s. But it’s much better than Congress’ 7 percent approval!

They may be dumbfounded again when this November they fail to gain control of the Senate. 

Though many Republicans have agreed upon this outcome before the votes have been cast, I have this sinking feeling of déjà vu — the summer of 2012, when I heard from moderate voters who said though they weren’t enamored of Obama, they really distrusted Mitt Romney.

The sentiment today is similar. Obama is not beloved but the Republicans seem faceless, message-less, and yes, obstructionist.

For sure, the party of “no” message works well in GOP primaries and inside the conservative media bubble, but it doesn’t win general elections. 

The GOP is once again jeopardizing its already slim chance of winning the White House in 2016 — and even that of re-taking the Senate — by not moving on a borders and immigration bill.

Republicans could have passed one this summer, but chose not to.

In early July, House Speaker John Boehner announced he would not bring to the floor, nor would the GOP pass, any border security and immigration bill this year.

Obama immediately suggested he could use his executive prerogatives to fix the immigration mess.

Whatever Obama’s executive action does, which will likely be small and narrow, he and the Democrats will again look like the heroes.

The Republicans will again reaffirm their image as anti-immigrant, which I believe is not an accurate reflection of the party.

Americans do want our borders secure. States along the border with Mexico are being swamped by undocumented immigrants, many of them children, as their police and social service systems are overwhelmed. 

Sheriffs in border states say Mexican drug cartels are also taking advantage of the porous border to smuggle contraband and people — and possibly terrorists — into the United States. 

The border crisis is a national concern affecting not just the economy but security as well.

President Obama’s big wish may be to give amnesty for undocumented aliens in the country, now estimated at more than 11 million. 

The GOP had an unusual opportunity this summer to pass a bill that not only could have secured the border once and for all, but dealt with the undocumented in a long-term and comprehensive way.

A Republican working group in the House had been working for over a year hammering out legislation that would have done this. The bill was ready to go. 

My sources tell me that this plan would have required the Obama administration to effectively seal the border over the next two years. An independent commission would then have evaluated the controls to see if the administration had accomplished this task, and other parts of the bill would not go into effect unless the border was indeed certified secure.

Another 10 years would have to pass for undocumented workers to pay fines and taxes before they could even apply for citizenship.

Another proviso would have made future illegal entry into the United States a felony. This would have seriously deterred future illegal immigration.

It is a harsh plan, harsher than I would like. 

But Obama would have faced a dilemma over signing it. Meanwhile, the Republicans would have done the right thing to propose a tough border and immigration bill.

Not only would the House bill have secured the border, but it would have put the GOP in a positive light with Hispanic voters, which Republicans need to have in response to America’s changing demographics.

The Hispanic population in the United States has increased six-fold since 1970 and now totals 53 million. But in 2012, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney garnered just 27 percent of the Hispanic vote, according to exit polls. And he lost. 

George W. Bush barely won re-election in 2004 by winning 44 percent of Hispanics.

A new openness will help Republicans not just with Latinos but with all immigrant groups who see the Republican Party as anti-immigrant. 

For example, the GOP used to win a large percentage of the Asian-American vote, but in the last election Obama tallied a whopping 73 percent of that vote to Romney’s 26 percent.

As for concerns that an immigration reform act would negatively impact Republicans in national elections, the legalized newcomers would likely not earn the right to apply for citizenship until 2026, putting the impact of any legislation until the 2028 or later presidential elections. 

Studies also suggest that many may never actually apply for citizenship. A recent Pew study found that of 5.4 million legal residents from Mexico in the U.S. who hold green cards and are eligible to apply for citizenship, only 36 percent have chosen to do so.

Republicans in the House have been reluctant about moving forward, especially in light of the illegal influx of children.

Now, the Obama border bill offers a pathway for compromise. Republicans aren’t being asked to give undocumented workers status of any type. 

Obama is asking for funding to step up deportations and make the border secure. 

Having failed to propose a more comprehensive borders and immigration bill, the GOP is being given a second opportunity to step up, make the Obama bill true to its mission, and hit a home run. Obama will sign a reasonable bill. The country will win. 

Republicans need to start thinking beyond their short-term political advantage and toward long-term solutions.

Failing to grasp the importance of this moment to act, the once Grand Old Party risks being relegated to the past.

AFP Photo/Jewel Samad

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  • Chauncy Gardner

    Obama is the BEST Republican since Bill Clinton So Enjoy

  • Dominick Vila

    The irony behind the anti-Obama criticisms and claims voiced by white supremacists, and a large number of far right Republicans, is that President Obama is farther to the right on this issue than most “conservatives” are. Obama’s call for additional funding, and his insistence on immigration law reform, which those suffering from myopia interpret as a call for amnesty, is designed to eliminate existing laws that afford legal protection to refugees from non-contiguous countries.
    As a life-long Democrat, I find President Obama’s position on this issue disturbing. Siding with the most extreme xenophobes in our society is not going to help Democrats in November, and it is inconsistent with our values, traditions, and history.

    • Independent1

      I’m having a little trouble fully understanding President Obama’s objectives on stemming the tide of Hispanic youths into the country. My sense is that he’s taken a stand against the U.S. suggesting that it has an open door policy for these youngsters because of his concerns over the dangers he sees the youths facing in getting to our borders at the hands of smugglers.

      There’s an article by CNN which discusses 5 issues related to the situation which is the best article I’ve been able to come across. That article points out that a sizeable bit of the money that Obama is looking for to address the issue, is intended to stem the tide of refugee children heading for out borders.

      Obama has discussed Mexico’s role with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Vice President Joe Biden brainstormed strategies with Central American leaders in Guatemala. Jeh Johnson also will travel to Guatemala this summer and he made apublic service announcement in Spanish and English last month aimed at Central American parents. He stressed sending children to smugglers who sneak them across the border is dangerous and illegal. Immigration officials also released graphic ads over the weekend with the same message. There is also an effort against drug cartel smuggling rings, and consideration of deploying more Border Patrol agents.

      Obama will request more than $2 billion from Congress to help deal with the problem. Though now, the administration plans to spend roughly $100 million in aid to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to help the immigrant children get back home and stay there. It also setting aside $161.5 million this year for programs designed to help Central American countries respond to “pressing security and governance challenges.”

      For those interested here’s the link to the CNN article:

      • Neal Miller

        I might be stupid but I am not a idiot like you.Stay off this site.

    • Independent1

      Dominick, although you’re probably more aware of what’s precipitated the influx, others posting on the NM may not be as informed. So I’m posting here some excerpts from the CNN article as to what may have caused the influx of youths to start coming in 2012:

      2. Should government have seen it coming?: Yes.

      Last year, federal agencies noticed an uptick in minors crossing the border — particularly in the Rio Grande Valley, according to areport from U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

      The same agencies have also realized those “children present unique operational challenges” for Border Patrol and Health and Human Services. The administration was also aware that it couldn’t simply deport them.

      The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, which was signed into law and reauthorized several times during President George W. Bush’s administration set guidelines on how to best handle unaccompanied immigrant children.

      In 2008, the Department of Health and Human Services was authorized to take over the care of kids, which includes helping meet their health and legal needs, no later than 72 hours after being picked up by the Border Patrol.

      At a House Homeland Security Committee hearing last month, federal officials said they were having difficulties meeting the 72-hour hand off.

      The administration has asked Congress to give the Border Patrol more leeway in deportation decisions but doing so is murky, immigration advocates say, since it involves a young and vulnerable population.

      • Dominick Vila

        The information you provided, and the conclusions therein, are accurate and reflect the main reasons for the influx of refugees from Central America. What is perplexing is the sudden decision to come in such large numbers. The first thing that came to mind when I became aware of this issue was the probable meddling of the GOP to create a crisis on a midterm election year. Sort of what happened when an incendiary film was released and a pastor began to promise burning the Qur’an two years ago.
        The despots that rule countries like Guatemala and Honduras are the great grandchildren of despots that ruled those countries long ago. The misery that afflicts the poor and the indigenous population is the same that afflicted earlier generations. Drug trafficking is not new, and neither is gang violence. With that in mind, why did all this people decide to come in large number this year? I suppose their decision to emigrate may have been influenced by something as innocent as a missionary mentioning Bush’s 2008 law, but I don’t think so. I wish we had intelligence agencies committed to finding the truth, and a government that does not mind telling the populace the truth. Instead, what we have is political witch hunts to see who can score the most political points.

    • Michael L. Harville
  • FT66

    I understand some from the Dems side are blaming Pres. Obama’s stand on the entire issue. I would urge them to think deeply again why he has opted to do so? The man is very, very smart. He knows exactly what he is doing.

  • Jambi

    The author used a word that doesn’t register with House Republicans…”Compromise”…They are like “spoiled-brat children” throwing a tantrum in Congress because they didn’t “get their way”…

  • midway54

    Amazing announcement, since, as I vaguely remember, Ruddy was/is prominently in the circle of the Scaife family foundation (remember Richard Mellon and Sarah?). He was some time ago identified with a Scaife Pittburgh rightwing leaning paper second to the larger Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

  • howa4x

    It may be too late since republican elected officials have already made inflammatory remarks about Latinos. They have been seen at the border helping to whip the crowd into a frenzy over the arrival of children here. Republicans are so frightened of the base, who think compromise is heresy, that they can’t move. They have been trying to shift all the blame to Obama but he out foxed them and threw the crisis back into their corner. Now it’s move or loose the Latino vote for a generation.

  • Sand_Cat

    So the GOP “understandably” doesn’t trust Obama?
    Yes, I’m sure the psychiatrists psychologists who study paranoid and dishonest and other mentally ill people “understand” that such afflicted persons often project those faults on others and blame their victims. Other than that, I’m not sure who should understand the GOP’s attitudes toward the president, other than those who are familiar with racism and hypocrisy, and – perhaps – some GOP adherents themselves.

  • Sand_Cat

    Of course, once the GOP discovers that Obama supports repealing the law requiring due process for minor immigrants other than those from Mexico and Canada, they’ll praise his wisdom and statesmanship, right? Right? RIGHT?

  • ExRadioGuy15

    The GOP “Civil War” tragicomically rages on….

  • Sterling Harris

    The Republican Party is merely a coalition of gangs.
    The Republican Party is
    not really a party. It doesn’t stand for anything except re-electing itself, The
    neocons are only oriented to an aggressive, imperialistic foreign policy of big
    defense establishment and suppression of our civil liberties. That’s
    That’s basically the heart of the Republican Party, In that mix, how can
    you find anything that’s going to stand for conservative economics, fiscal
    rectitude, free markets, sound money? It’s not there.
    The Republican Party is
    basically irrelevant to the economic crisis that faces the country

  • Neal Miller

    Any body that believes any thing Obama says is stupid.

    • DezJimmar

      Stupid? Anybody should be one word. Anything should be one word. You just confirmed that you are the expert on ‘stupid’.

  • herchato

    The GOP is a party being held together by some old confederacy believers that can’t seem to let go of the past.

  • Hadris Ellsberg

    It’s been over ten years since Kris Eggle was brutally murdered by an invasive gang of Mexican narcotics pushers while on duty in Arizona.