Wait! Wait!

I’ve already used the “Waiting For Godot” analogy in discussing the ever-under-development Republican “replacement” for Obamacare. So let’s just straight up mock David Brooks for his embodiment of the currently very popular “moderate” position of agreeing with the president on the substance of immigration reform, but just objecting to this terrible executive action idea, because after all, it will spoil prospects for a legislative solution:

This move would also make it much less likely that we’ll have immigration reform anytime soon. White House officials are often misinformed on what Republicans are privately discussing, so they don’t understand that many in the Republican Party are trying to find a way to get immigration reform out of the way. This executive order would destroy their efforts.

Give me a break. The Senate acted on comprehensive immigration reform seventeen months ago. Since then the principal Republican cosponsor of that bill, Marco Rubio, has practically toured the country in sackcloth and ashes, recanting his heresy. The House has done nothing, other than a hasty symbolic “response” to the summer border refugee crisis that wound up being shaped by Steve King and Michele Bachmann. The GOP’s center of gravity on immigration has steadily shifted to “deport ’em all.” So what will further delay mean? A big debate over how much to spend on police dogs and box cars?

Even that, of course, might be appropriate, since the current law is “deport ’em all,” without the resources to “deport ’em all,” which forces the executive branch to exercise prosecutorial discretion on whom to pursue, and that’s why we are where we are today.

If you’re going to harshly criticize Obama for taking a more definitive position on prosecutorial guildelines, you need to identify some alternative strategy. Is it more police dogs and box cars? Is it random prosecution, hoping the fear of arbitrary state power makes life difficult enough for the undocumented that they “self-deport?” “Wait!” won’t cut it any more.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.