Republicans Are Making the Immigration Crisis Worse
Fix What's Broke, It's Your Job
Immigration reform has been on the table in some form or another since the Clinton years. Our immigration program hasn't seen a serious overhaul since our major influx was from Europe.
Today our primary immigrant is coming from Central America, not Europe. Our system needs to be reconstructed to deal with this change in a manner that is both fair and effective. Today it is neither.
Because of our laws and our inability to manage the flow of immigrants because of our out of date immigration system we have a looming crisis with thousands of children, many unaccompanied, being held for deportation. We don't have the money to deal with the situation, we don't have the resources and we're rending apart families... simply because of where they want to live.
This would be enough for most people to stand up and say "we need to do something NOW!" This would be enough to drive most people to action to try to resolve the many issues that our immigration system has.
Even a FOX News poll from last year shows that 78% of the country feels we need to find a way to help the estimated 11M people here, even as we strengthen border security. 76% of the country feels that immigration is an urgent enough issue now that it must be reformed this year (last year!). Not after Obama, not when we get a new president that the congress wants to work with (if that ever happens again), not when 11M people are all kicked out and we've sealed off our border so tight so much as an ant won't be able to cross. These numbers aren't going down with the growing crisis.
It. Needs. To. Be. Done. NOW.
Yes, even Republicans recognize this is a serious humanitarian crisis sitting square in our backyard and failing to deal with it is not only hurting immigrants, but hurting us as well.
Yet with the ousting of Eric Cantor has come the message from the Republican party that immigration reform is dead, at least until Obama leaves office. Let's be clear -- at least until Obama leaves office, which is roughly 18.75 months from now. Democrats know that there isn't even a fight as long as the House Republicans have dug in their heels. We as a nation have learned at least that much -- the House Republicans say no, it's embarrasingly like dealing with a teenager throwing a fit in the candy aisle to try to get them to do anything else.
But what really bothers me and should bother all of us regardless of party, political ideology, etc. is that, and I hate to belabor the point but, we have a humanitarian crisis involving thousands of minor children and something needs to be done now.
While Obama has been sent to deal with the issue with Executive Orders the best he can, the Republicans have screamed about "over reach" and threatened to sue rather than to do something about the looming disaster.
While Obama is left public begging Congress to do SOMETHING, John Boehner, leader of the "No Coalition of the Republican-led House", has done something. Barely. He has gathered a group of 7 to "advise lawmakers and keep them in the loop on the escalating humanitarian crisis." While they say they will do something, there is no evidence from this group of an actual plan or intent to create a plan to ease the problem.
To carry the insult of doing nothing one step further, rather than take any responsibility for their failure to address the problem, the No Coalition Leader stated at the announcement of this "working group", "The president has allowed a national security and humanitarian crisis to develop on the U.S. southern border..."
Perhaps Republicans have forgotten that the House is a critical part of passing legislation in this country and turning it into law in order to deal with situations like this? I know that at one point they literally felt they could pass a budget on their own without the Senate or the White House, so it's not inconceivable to me that they have again misunderstood their role in our nation.
It's like so many other failures of the Republican party -- their recent "win" in regards to the NLRB decision. Yes, they "won" at the same time, if the Republicans in the Senate confirmed appointments to the NLRB it would have never been an issue. They went through months of contortions to avoid going into recess to ensure there could be no recess appointments. They were trying to kill off a primary means for workers to seek protection against corporations violating labor laws. Ultimately we won, because the appointments, unconstitutional or otherwise, did happen and the board remains functional.
Now, we have to find a way to make our immigration programs work again.