My friend Greg Sargent of WaPo, a long-suffering champion of comprehensive immigration reform who has never ceased to hang onto the possibility House Republicans might (as they could have at any point and still could today) relent and allow legislation to be enacted, is predictably angry at the public and private indications from the House leadership that it ain’t happening, probably until 2017 at the earliest. But he makes a very good and important point about where the GOP has left itself thanks to its recent demands the Obama administration step up deportations of DREAMers and also the recent Central American children crossing the border:
The current crisis is actually an argument for comprehensive immigration reform. But [House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob] Goodlatte — who once cried about the breakup of families — is now reduced to arguing that the crisis is the fault of Obama’s failure to enforce the law. Goodlatte’s demand (which is being echoed by other, dumber Republicans) that Obama stop de-prioritizing the deportation of the DREAMers really means: Deport more children. When journalist Jorge Ramos confronted Goodlatte directly on whether this is really what he wants, the Republican refused to answer directly. But the two main GOP positions — no legalization, plus opposition to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (relief for the DREAMers) — add up inescapably to “get the hell out” as the de facto GOP response to the broader crisis.
This is the course Republicans have chosen — they’ve opted to be the party of maximum deportations. Now Democrats and advocates will increase the pressure on Obama to do something ambitious to ease deportations in any way he can.
You may recall that the whole push within the Republican Party to do something on immigration was impelled by fears that Mitt Romney’s “self-deportation” position had fatally damaged the GOP’s standing among Latinos. I’d say becoming the party of forced deportation by government is worse.