Comprehensive immigration reform was the one policy suggestion that came out of the so-called GOP autopsy. The party’s big donors and top strategists like Karl Rove know that some grand gesture that stops the slide Republican presidential nominees have suffered since 2004 is necessary.
However, House Republicans don’t share that urgency.
“All of this high-minded stuff — that Republicans need to get the immigration issue off the table if they want to win and hold a Senate majority or win the White House — matters little to many GOP House lawmakers who sit in very white, very conservative congressional districts and who have much more to fear from a conservative primary challenger than from a Democrat,” explains Charlie Cook.
So rather than having any hope of passing the huge bill that got through the Senate with a more than two-thirds majority, Republicans will be stuck with crumbs of reform and lots of reasons for anti-immigration Republicans to keep talking.
The Washington Examiner‘s Conn Carroll believes that anti-immigrant ranting only hurts the cause of reform:
The same activist Spanish-language media that is beating up Republicans for not passing amnesty now, would immediately start bashing Republicans for not making the path to citizenship easier tomorrow. The left will again start promoting every stupid thing Steve King and his ilk say about immigrants, in order to, again, pressure moderate Republicans into caving.
In other words, by highlighting King, the left is again demonstrating that passing amnesty solves nothing.
He’s basically arguing that Latinos are never going to like Rep. Steve King (R-IA), so Republicans might as well vote like him.
Carroll is definitely right that the Hispanic media are watching reform closely and amplifying the worst comments about immigrants, the same way anti-reform Republicans are amplifying their concerns even though lots of Republicans — including a majority in the district represented by Steve King — want reform that includes a path to citizenship.
Here are five of the worst things Republicans have said about immigrants recently.
Ken Cuccinelli On ‘Rats’
Last year, Virginia’s attorney general called in to a morning talk-radio show to rant about his interpretation of a wildlife policy that he claimed protected rats. The Huffington Post‘s Nick Wing explains:
“They have to relocate the rats. And, not only that, that’s actually not the worst part, they cannot break up the families of the rats!” Cuccinelli said, incorrectly suggesting that the District’s 2010 Wildlife Protection Act forced pest control specialists to dump them across the river in Virginia.
Cuccinelli then made his comparison.
“So, anyway, it is worse than our immigration policy,” he said. “You can’t break up rat families. Or raccoons, and all the rest, and you can’t even kill ’em. It’s unbelievable.”
What’s Cooch actual stance on immigration and keeping human families together? Even he doesn’t know.
Steve King On ‘Calves’ And ‘Cantaloupes’
You know earlier this week that Rep. Steve King made an anti-immigration comment that will go down in history.
“For everyone who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert,” he said. “Those people would be legalized with the same act.”
After Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) attacked King’s comments as “hateful or ignorant,” King went to the floor of the House to give a 25-minute-plus speech about the history of Western Civilization that seemed to compare undocumented immigrants to the Visigoths who sacked Rome.
He was then greeted at his office by a large delivery of cantaloupes from undocumented young people.
The next day, he went on Laura Ingraham’s radio show to stand by his comments, which he called “an objective analysis.”
When the host told him he should be “smarter about the language he used, King said, “I have been saying this a different way for 10 years and they’re not paying attention.”
Maybe that’s because what King is saying isn’t true.
“Simply put, drug smugglers aren’t eligible for legalization under the latest immigration proposals,” Univison’s Jordan Fabian wrote in a fact check of King’s statements.
“My colleagues are standing by me,” he said. “They come up to me constantly and talk to me and say, you’re right, I know you’re right.”
Louis Gohmert On ‘Acting Hispanic’
“We know al Qaeda has camps on the Mexican border,” Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX) told C-SPAN in the aftermath of the Boston bombings. “We have people that are trained to act Hispanic when they are radical Islamists.”
Michele Bachmann On The President’s ‘Magic Wand’
“Because, I think the president, even by executive order, could again wave his magic wand before 2014 and he’d say, ‘Now, all of the new legal Americans are going to have voting rights,’ “Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) said recently.
She went on to say that he did the same thing in 2012 “with all Latinas under age 30” — which apparently happened in the same universe where Bachmann ran a perfect presidential campaign.
This is how Bachmann became the winner of the most PolitiFact “Pants On Fire” awards of all time.
Don Young On ‘Wetbacks’
Rep. Don Young (R-AK) wants you to know he understands the complexities of undocumented labor.
“My father had a ranch; we used to have 50-60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes,” Young said in March. “It takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now. It’s all done by machine.”
And don’t worry, he “meant no disrespect” with those comments.