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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

 
Immigration tango

by digby

This strikes me as pretty good news for the prospect of real immigration reform:

Rubio, who is widely considered to be a strong contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, hasn't introduced actual immigration reform legislation, or gone beyond the broad strokes outlined in his interview with the Journal. Nevertheless, in the days following the interview's publication on Saturday, conservative pundits have showered Rubio with praise. The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin called Rubio's proposal "bold," and the Daily Caller's Matt Lewis writes that "although there is opportunity here, this is still an act of political courage." Rubio also drew approval from 2012 GOP vice-presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who wrote on Facebook that "I support the principles he's outlined."

Conservatives hailing Rubio may not realize how close to President Barack Obama he has moved on immigration, but opponents of reform, such as the Center for Immigration Studies' Mark Krikorian, certainly noticed. "There's nothing substantive in Rubio's proposal that wouldn't immediately be agreed to by President Obama," Krikorian says. "This is the Rubio-Obama immigration plan." In fairness, Krikorian notes, it's also broadly similar to the George W. Bush immigration reform plan conservatives derailed in 2007.

It's pretty clear that the GOP leadership understands that it's important to stop demonizing the Hispanic community if they ever expect to win another presidential election. If the parties are fairly close on this they might be able to get it done.

On the other hand, it was only six years ago that one of their own tried it and this was the result:

Comments by Republican senators on Thursday suggested that they were feeling the heat from conservative critics of the bill, who object to provisions offering legal status. The Republican whip, Trent Lott of Mississippi, who supports the bill, said: “Talk radio is running America. We have to deal with that problem.”

At some point, Mr. Lott said, Senate Republican leaders may try to rein in “younger guys who are huffing and puffing against the bill.”

Senator Jim DeMint, Republican of South Carolina, welcomed the president’s support for more spending on border security, but said, “There’s no reason why we should be forced to tie amnesty to it.”

Mr. Bush said the $4.4 billion would “come from the fines and penalties that we collect from those who have come to our country illegally” and apply for legal status.

Representative Duncan Hunter of California, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, scorned such linkage.

“The idea that we will have border security only if it’s paid for by illegal immigrants is unacceptable,” Mr. Hunter said.

Matthew A. Towery, a political analyst in Atlanta who was once a campaign chairman for Newt Gingrich and is now chief executive of a polling firm, Insider Advantage, said: “Having George W. Bush come out and speak in favor of the immigration bill does not do any good for Republican senators. He just irritates the conservative base of the Republican Party, which has abandoned him on this issue.”

But maybe they've had a change of heart. Let's hope so.

But in any case,  the Obama administration might want to put a stop to this unnecessary harassment. If the right does wise up, these smug Democrats will regret this callous behavior.

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