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GOP Analyst Says Immigration "Principles" May Only Be PR Stunt. By Roger Algase

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.

The January 31 Immigration Daily editorial has some well-justified harsh comments about the latest article by Sean Trende, a Republican political analyst who opposes immigration reform as bad, not as policy, but for the political chances of his party. The ID editorial calls Trende a "traitor" to his own party for trying to lead it down the path of exclusiveness by writing off the Hispanic vote, something that will doom its long term chances of remaining a national party.

Anyone reading Trende's article, On Immigration, What Are The Republicans Thinking? (Real Clear Politics, January 31) can only be appalled by its cynicism. There is nothing in it at all about doing what is best for America. Nor is there anything about the human cost of continuing mass deportations of millions of Latino and other minority immigrants, or the economic cost of turning away our best educated and most talented immigrants.

Trende is only concerned about appeasing the GOP's intolerant white base and avoiding what he sees as a potential civil war over immigration within his party that could cost it a potential "landslide" in 2014. I am not a Republican political analyst and I am not concerned with what Trende thinks will help his party win elections - even though I agree that writing off the Latino vote or hoping that there are "other" ways to attract Latino voters without supporting immigration reform is simply delusional.

But the most significant part of Trende's article is in his discussion of the (in his view, flawed) reasons why Republicans might be in favor of some sort of reform proposal.

In his fourth reason, This is a PR push Trende writes:

"Another option... is that this [supporting reform] is mostly a public relations push for Republicans. The idea would be that they would pass something with some sort of 'poison pill' in it that the Democrats wouldn't swallow. This would allow them [the Republicans] to push back on the 'Party of No' theme before the election. Moreover this would give them something to advertise for 2016 as the official position for 2017."

Much as I would hate to find myself in the same company with Sean Trende, I think that the above is an excellent and very accurate summary of the just-released Republican "Principles" on immigration reform. This is for reasons that I have written about in more detail in my own January 31 Immigration Daily "blogging", and in my comment to an article on this topic by two of the most incisive and respected writers on immigration to be found anywhere, Gary Endelman and Cyrus Mehta, in that same ID issue.

Trende continues, however, into territory that is so covered with cynicism that even I, with my own deep skepticism about the the Republicans' motives on immigration reform, have to struggle to follow him:

"I think this is getting close, and at least has an element of truth about it. But you still encounter the problem that Democrats might decide there's no such thing as a poison pill here, within reason, and figure that they can fix any issues with the immigration system further down the line and call Republicans' bluff by passing whatever comes out of the House."

Here, Trende gives away the Republicans' deepest fear: that no matter how outrageous their poison pills might be, immigration supporters might agree to them anyway and something associated with the word "reform" might actually pass and become law, causing the Republicans' right wing anti-immigrant base to sit out the 2014 election.

He also warns that if the Democrats agree to legalization without a pathway to citizenship, they will not only have succeeded in passing an immigration bill, but will have the Republicans' insistence on "second-class citizenship" to use as an election issue.

It is interesting to note here that the pro-reform side is not the only one that exaggerates the importance of citizenship issue. Trende is making the same mistake as many immigration supporters are doing.

As I have pointed out in my previous comments, the real issue in reform is not citizenship, but legalization, i.e. relief from deportation together with work permission, for 11 million people.

This is what the intolerant Republican base is denouncing as "amnesty". This is what killed reform in 2007 and stalled it in the House last year.

If the only thing holding up reform were disagreement over the "special" pathway to citizenship, we would most likely already have reform, because the Democrats have almost unanimously expressed their willingness to cave on this issue in order to get an agreement. (And Trende is also correct in pointing out that this could be fixed later on by a Democratic majority in Congress.)

But Trende has not given his fellow Republicans enough "credit" for their ingenuity in coming up with immigration poison pills. True, a poison pill on citizenship would probably not be enough to derail reform. But this is far from being the only poison pill implied in the House Republican "Principles" and in recent statements by leaders such as Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Paul Ryan (R-WI).

There are three even more devastating poison pills in the House Republicans' proposals: 1) overturning Arizona v. US by giving back bigoted state and local legislatures and officials power over immigration enforcement which the Supreme Court took away in 2012; 2) taking away the president's executive power to grant relief from deportation, which the Supreme Court also recognized and re-affirmed in the Arizona decision; and, 3) making legalization conditional on impossible to achieve enforcement "triggers" and financial requirements by the legalization applicants themselves.

Even if, unbelievably, immigration supporters were to agree to all of these House GOP poison pills, the history of immigration reform negotiations over the past year shows that, almost inevitably, there would be others. I have written about this in my recent comment about the moving Republican immigration reform goalposts.

Sean Trende, don't worry. The House GOP leaders are ahead of you on this one. They appear determined to make sure that there will always be enough poison pills to stop immigration reform from becoming law, no matter how much the pro-immigrant side is willing to give in.

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Updated 02-01-2014 at 08:52 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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  1. Dave Francis's Avatar
    An Amnesty bill is nothing more than a vote-grab by politicians and it must discontinue now! If amnesty goes through, Democrats will gain control of the House and Senate for decades to come?that is their sole purpose for this push, which includes Republican hierarchy who are desperate for cheap workers. If it happens, illegal aliens will only suck from the federal and state money trough worse than they do now?welfare, food stamps and even Social Security will be impacted. Shamefully, they're allowed to demonstrate in our streets, demanding amnesty, claiming it's their civil right?what civil rights?they broke the law, their criminals. It?s only through Congress that it isn?t a felony, proving to me that they don?t care how many foreigners end up here? 10 million Americans still seek work, while another 6 million have just given up and forced to live on paltry unemployment benefits and food stamps. The coal industry has been suffocated by the EPA, with consequences that hundreds of thousands of jobless miners are now walking the streets.

    Congress must put an end to this travesty right now. His elected officials have refused to answer ALL the unanswered questions regarding Benghazi, guns to Mexican drug cartels and the IRS snooping into our personal lives. He repeatedly shreds the Rule of Law. Blatantly defies Congress. Aids terrorists and is demanding Congress grant amnesty to people who entered our country illegally. His signature health care legislation is unconstitutional. Millions are losing their insurance plans and their doctors because of it. He's put all of us at risk with his reckless actions one after the other.

    An anonymous Department of Homeland Security official stated, ?Right now, entire families ? groups ? show up at the border and turn themselves in,? said who works along the Arizona border with Mexico. ?It?s only getting worse. They bring their children with them and they know they will not be turned back ? the majorities are given a free ride into the U.S. This is out of control and passing immigration reform without enforcing current laws will make it worse, not better.?

    Another Texas Border officer who was promised anonymity in his commentary,? Human smugglers are using the ?promise of immigration reform? among those frantic to immigrate to the U.S. from overseas. Many illegal migrant workers ?are trying to find a way into the United States before the amnesty and many with their offspring,? Children become leverage for the parents, because under the ?Birthright Citizenship Law? annotated in the 14 Amendment illegal aliens are slipping into America to gain access to food stamps, cash payments, schooling and of course healthcare?and taxpayers are burdened with these costs, which averages into the hundred of billions of dollars. Of course the parents, a pregnant Mother who arrives by plane or crosses the border can claim dollars, prenatal and hospital treatment?all for free. That?s how millions of illegal aliens live, with the many children supplementing their income and no possibility of being deported?especially under the Obama presidential preference.

    . Use your voice and jam the switchboard in Washington at (202) 224-3121. Enough is enough. Obama has defied and despoiled the Constitution, bypassed Congress, gone against the laws of this country and the ardent will of the people. The only true Conservatives who will enforce immigration are the ?tearing-away? Peoples TEA PARTY dot org. Millions of Americans are cutting their bonds from the Democratic and the GOP elitists, along with all nationalities, blacks, whites, Latino?s, Asian and other minority and religious groups. Many Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and Independents identify with the premises set forth by the Tea Party Movement, which is striking a chord and ringing true with the American Spirit. The TEA PARTY grassroots mission calls for awareness to any issue which challenges the security, sovereignty, or domestic tranquility of our beloved nation, the United States of America. From our founding, the Tea Party represents the voice of the true owners of the United States: WE THE PEOPLE.

    Understand why the voices of the people who are speaking out in unison, relating to the unions being taken over by Marxist?s and the undermining of our great Republic? Read Trevor Loudoun books, about the truth covering Obama?s rise to power, called ?Borack Obama and the Enemies Within.? HE STATES IN HIS BOOK, THAT COMMUNISTS HAVE INFILTRATED THE WHITE HOUSE. Then read Frank De Varona?s book ?America in Decline. He was in a Cuban prison and as a Christian Latino, who realizes the consequences of millions of more illegal aliens arriving here under Obama or John Boehner who benefit massively from invasion, why citizens and legal residents pay dearly. The President is pushing for amnesty even though the (CBO) Congressional Budget Office has determined it will devastate the wages of working class people.
  2. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    The above rant is just one more item of evidence showing that the voices of hate are the biggest, if not the only, obstacle to immigration reform.

    One has to to ask whether the Republicans' poison pill approach to immigration reform makes any sense at all, even as a matter of GOp strategy.

    The Democrats will see through the poison pills sooner or later, and the anti-immigrant Republican base will be so inflamed by the "amnesty" part of the GOP "Principles" or "Standards" that they won't even notice or understand that the poison pills are there.

    It seems to me that the Republicans are asking for the worst of both possible worlds in their current strategy.

    But again, I am not a Republican strategist, so I will not comment further on this point.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 02-02-2014 at 08:18 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  3. Jack2's Avatar
    no matter how much the pro-immigrant side is willing to give in.
    The "pro-immigrant" side has zero interest in the implementation of any preventive measures prior to mass legalization. Presumably they figure they can hold out for mass legalization first bills as one (S. 744) already passed the Senate with the mere promise of enforcement breakable. With mass legalization already passed, pro-enforcement Republicans would have no leverage and everyone knows that Democrats, being expedient politicians (not "
    about doing what is best for America"), want future illegal immigration to add to their voter rolls. In the meantime they can use the issue to increase turnout of Latino voters in an off year election and they know the media will play along with their blame the Republicans for inaction message rather than give them credit for holding the line for rule of law.

    Of course they are open to less than "special" pathways to citizenship or, best of all, NO pathway. With no pathway they can bash the Republicans on that while lapping up the mass legalization. Everyone knows that legalization will lead to opportunity for citizenship anyway. The "special pathway" stuff is boob bait. Acting like this is "giving in" by Democrats is just as absurd as Republicans acting like they are holding the line against it. Obviously these con men (on both sides) think the public is really stupid and trust the media will play along with the charade.

    Some people argue that it is better politics for Republicans to take a principled stand against mass legalization altogether or at the very least until preventive measures are in place. You can really be for the former but take the latter as your official position. As Rubio learned the hard way, trigger plans won't cut it with the base, especially a ridiculously late in the process trigger plan like Rubio peddled.

    Amendments which only kick in after legalization aren't worth the paper they're printed on and will not provide political cover for a yes vote. All Republicans need to do is cite the flawed and proven failure (1986) “legalization first” structure and note that it puts things in the wrong order (cart before the horse). Let the Democrats stick to rejecting out of hand any pre-legalization preventive measures, dismissing them as “non-starters”: They look unreasonable and--at best--like they do not care about preventing future illegal immigration. Let them brag that, “We have de-linked a pathway to citizenship and border enforcement" when opinion polls indicate that the public strongly supports that concept. Let them try to defend a bill that the CBO says will raise unemployment, lower wages, and only reduce future illegal immigration by a quarter or half when they are selling that, “Illegal immigration will be a thing of the past.” Why go along with them and catch blame for inevitable, intentional failure and false promises? Your base cares a lot more than theirs if we end up millions more unlawfully present aliens (which more neutral observers are already predicting that will happen with S. 744). Somehow I don't think "we got fooled--again" will cut it with many Republicans who will write you off forever even if they agree with you on practically all other issues. To throw an easy vote away over a single issue is arguably foolish.

    The political risk for Democrats is if Republicans offer mass legalization, not green card or citizenship, contingent triggers. If Democrats turn up their noses at that then it shows that all of their "out of the shadows" rhetoric and how urgent that is was just BS and their bad faith about preventing future illegal immigration would be further evident. Republicans can make it a populist issue but too many are content to just fall in line with the cheap labor lobby's wishes (which helped get the party into the dilemma they face).

    On the other hand, what if Democrats take an enforcement-first bill, the supposed "non-starter"? Then you are stuck with mass legalization. Which is why a lot of pro-enforcements do not want to take that chance and prefer enforcement with no promises other than then we'll talk.
  4. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Jack2, no immigration reform plan will ever "cut it" with the Republican base, because this base is made up of white people who want America to stay white forever.

    This will simply not happen and is no longer the case even now. You, and the other immigrant-haters are like King Canute of England ordering the waves to turn back.

    (Interestingly enough, the present UK leaders are trying to do the same thing by keeping Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants out of England.)

    The idea that "enforcement-only" will work, that 11 million immigrants can ever be deported and that the Mexican border can be turned into another Korean DMZ is simply a fantasy.

    The Senate recognized reality in S. 744, with some Republican support, plus $46.3 billion in high tech equipment for the Mexican border - is that "open borders"?

    The House GOP leaders are at least pretending to or going through the motions of recognizing reality in their latest "Standards" or "Principles."

    Where are people like you on this? You have your heads buried in the sands - of the Arizona desert.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 02-03-2014 at 05:11 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
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