Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has given us a preview of what his alibi will be if he can’t lead his caucus through the complicated dance it will take to pass substantive immigration reform:
There’s widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws. And it’s going to be difficult to move any immigration legislation until that changes.
The Speaker’s problem is that he knows this excuse will work perfectly in 2014, when Republicans in districts built for them face voters whiter, older and more conservative than those who elect the president of the United States. But what works in off-year elections — cutting off unemployment insurance, trimming food stamps, smothering immigration reform — is what kills the GOP in the elections that matter most.
MSNBC’s Benjy Sarlin predicted how this excuse will fly:
GOP pitch to Latinos in 2016? “We agree with you, we just dislike the president 70% of you voted for too much to help. Vote for us now?”
— Benjy Sarlin (@BenjySarlin) February 6, 2014
On a more basic level, a group made up predominantly of white males is letting its distrust of the first black president stop them from any outreach to minority voters — if you take what Boehner is saying at face value. That should be reassuring to non-white voters.
Our Henry Decker points out that immigration reform is just one of the myriad reasons Latinos hate the GOP. However, it is the key issue for many in the Hispanic media and activist community.
Just ask the Walter Cronkite of the genre:
Yes, Obama didn’t keep his promise in 2009. But now immigration reform is in the hands of Republicans.No + talking points @SpeakerBoehner
— JORGE RAMOS (@jorgeramosnews) February 7, 2014
President Obama has pushed for reform, a bill passed the Senate and the president is willing to work with the House on a watered-down version of that bill.
Boehner refused to substantiate why he can’t trust the president. But he’s clearly referencing the executive action Obama took to prevent the deportation of law-abiding immigrants brought to this country as children, which is wildly popular in the activist community. In fact, the community is demanding the president stop all deportations as his administration surpasses in six years the total number the Bush administration exacted in eight.
If reform dies, it’s difficult to imagine a scenario where the president doesn’t at least tamp down deportations, as his effort to “secure the border” as an argument for reform fails to persuade the GOP.
And when that order comes, likely in the middle of the 2016 GOP presidential primary, it will tear the party apart.
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