Friday, June 15, 2012

Republicans squirm over immigration policy.

What could be more fun than watching the opposition fall all over itself trying to come up with a coherent response to President Obama's decision to stop deporting young people who meet criteria similar to those that would have allowed them to stay in this country pursuant to the Dream Act? Before looking at some of those reactions, we should keep in mind that these are some of the same Republicans, a minority in the Senate, who prevented a vote on the Dream Act from taking place. You might wonder whether any of these Republicans blame themselves for failing to take action to deal with this problem, which it might be reasonable to think was the cause of the administration taking executive action. You might wonder that for about one second, because of course I did not come across any Republican comments blaming themselves for shirking their responsibility to act.

Anyway, on the extreme right, we have Representative Steve King, who blames illegal immigrants for pretty much everything, threatening to sue the administration to stop implementation of this policy. "Go ahead," I can imagine the president thinking, "make my day."

Senator Grassley got all self-righteous today about President Obama's legal authority to  exercise this kind of discretion. It was different, Grassley might say, when George W. Bush was being very lax in enforcing immigration law. We must hold President Obama to a higher standard. What that means is that no matter what President Obama does, he is wrong.

Caught in the middle is poor Mitt Romney, who is now being forced to eat many of the harsh anti -immigrant words he spoke during the Republican presidential debates, whining about how the president should have dealt with this issue earlier in his term. (Except aren't you forgetting about how he tried to do that, and the Senate Republicans wouldn't allow the bill to come up for a vote?) Woe is me, says Romney, now I have to take a position on this issue and I don't know what to do.

Then there is Marco Rubio, still trying to keep his vice-presidential dreams alive, first saying that the president's decision will come as "welcome news" for many young people who deserve help, and then complaining that "this short term policy will make it harder to find a balanced and responsible long term one." Rubio has been working on a long term solution for months, apparently. Every time somebody asks about it, he responds that he's still working on it. So how will the president's short term fix delay his long term solution even more? Rubio did not explain this, but perhaps if he didn't have to spend so much time putting out statements responding to the president's actions he could get back to work on his long term plan.

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