In the wake of the midterm elections, President Obama has reaffirmed his commitment to act on immigration by the end of the year. It's nothing immigration advocates haven't heard before and what the President will ultimately do on immigration remains uncertain.
A smart move by Obama would be to act swiftly and boldly. The new policy should be comprehensive -- allowing for reforms to every facet of the immigration system that falls under the executive branch. This is the President's house that needs fixing after all.
As for Republicans, they would be wise to compromise with President Obama on immigration. It's difficult to envision a path forward for the party in 2016 if they don't. Their renewed empty promises of immigration reform are nothing more than a reminder of their party's failure to address the concerns of Latino and immigrant families. If Republicans were serious about passing immigration reform, John Boehner could bring the bi-partisan immigration reform bill that passed the Senate in 2013 to the floor for a vote. Despite support from both sides of the aisle, the bill has been stalled in the House.
But Boehner's recent warnings to Obama, claiming if he acted unilaterally to stop deportations -- of the same people Boehner concedes have the right to stay in the U.S. -- all chances for immigration reform in the new Congress would be dead, make apparent the fact that Republicans still have not learned their lesson on Latino outreach.
Boehner said this week:
"I've made clear to the president that if he acts unilaterally on his own, outside of his authority, he will poison the well and there will be no chance for immigration reform moving in this Congress. It's as simple as that."
Ugh, good luck with that, John.
He claims the surge of women and children fleeing unthinkable violence in Central America are the reason the GOP didn't get immigration reform done.
Hmm...perhaps a brief history lesson is in order here:
First, it was the GOP that backed away from its own principles for immigration reform earlier this year. The same GOP that has been blocking a bipartisan immigration reform bill in the House since the summer of 2013. And the same GOP that has repeatedly voted to strip immigrants of the right to remain in the U.S. under the administrative policy put in place in 2012, which provides relief from deportation for some immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.
The President should stand strong and call Republicans' bluff on immigration. Anything else would be a foolhardy political decision and would likely cause irreversible damage to his legacy in Latino and immigrant communities.