But let’s face facts here folks… it IS. Even if there are a precious few Republican Congress members that sincerely want to fix our broken immigration system, that number is not enough to matter in the grand scheme of Republican politics. There is still far too large a segment of the GOP that really HATES the idea of allowing undocumented persons to be recognized by the government. If they didn’t, then why is it that (as President Obama politely reminded us at the opening Bush 43’s Library) 3 previous attempts crashed and burned during the Grand Ol’ Bush Administration? When Republicans were in control under an arguably Pro- Immigration Reform President, they tried 3 times and got NOWHERE.
Given recent developments from last week, it’s critical for us to look at why the 2007 attempt did not work. Back then, the failure of the Senate to approve Bush’s measure truly was a Bi-Partisan defeat, as 15 Democrats actually voted against the legislation, citing many similar concerns as the GOP. And eventhough plenty of Democrats didn’t like George W. Bush, they didn’t try to ruin him at every turn the way Republicans have to Obama.
But one thing that both attempts had in common? The Heritage Foundation… a Right-wing think tank. Just like today, Heritage also released a study in 2007 that was timed almost perfectly to scuttle Bush’s Comphrehensive Immigration Reform (abbreviated as “CIR” bill. It served its purpose by pealing off Conservative Democrats and Republicans to vote against the legislation. So is anyone surprised that Heritage felt the necessity to release a similar study last week? And here’s the funny part… both studies make an insane claim that Amnesty will somehow cost the American economy $6.3 Trillion dollars, and neither take into account any of the contributions that Undocumented persons make in our society right now. They work, they go to school, they pay sales taxes, and do almost every thing that other Americans do. But the Heritage Foundation doesn’t mention any of this in its flawed logic. In 2007, these lies were enough to make President Bush 0 for 0 on CIR.
President Obama’s attempts have already gone better though. Let’s not forget that the DREAM ACT came within one GOP filibuster of being law in 2010. Even after that defeat, the President still accomplished many elements of the DREAM Act via Executive Order in 2012, bringing some small measure of hope to that select group of persons. By any measure, Obama and Democrats are the ones that have been responsible for any progress on this issue for the last 30 years, and they certainly weren’t the ones standing in the way when the other side tried to fix it. On the other hand, all the GOP can do is run, hide and tell lies. In every scenario that Comprehensive Immigration Reform laws could pass the House of Representatives, they require virtually all House Democrats to combine with a few “reasonable” Republican members. IF it gets done, that’s the only way CIR is going to happen. So again, I say that I wish Immigration Reform was not a partisan issue, but right now at least in Washington, it is textbook divide and squander. Anyone that wants real progress should remember this going into 2014.
Dos Centavos has some great coverage on this issue as well. Please make sure to check it out.