You just cannot make any of this up.
Over the past few weeks, Republicans on Capitol Hill and conservative commentators have focused on the situation at the border where tens of thousands of migrant children are being detained. The children are refugees escaping from violent conditions in Central America. Per a law signed by President Bush in 2008, children from specific countries in Central America who reach the border must be allowed to seek asylum. Therefore, they need to be processed, and a determination needs to be made if they are eligible to remain in the country. Due to the influx of migrants from Central America, a bottleneck has been created, causing overcrowding in the detention center system which has led to this humanitarian crisis.
Republicans, meanwhile, have decided to use this particular crisis to rail against President Obama (natch). One criticism has been that the President lured these refugees to the border when he issued the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a memo that provided DREAMers a temporary reprieve from deportation. This memo was meant as a stop-gap until permanent legislation was passed, as the DREAM Act was in Congressional purgatory at the time (and still is.) Conservatives have claimed that this action by POTUS has convinced those coming to the border that they will be granted citizenship once they arrive.
Another criticism leveled at the President from the right has been that he isn’t doing enough to secure our borders or stem the tide of illegal immigration. It doesn’t matter that these children are actually stopping at the border and being detained by border patrol agents. Or that that deportations are higher under President Obama than his predecessors. Or even that we have more border patrol agents and other border security measures than during President Bush’s tenure. It doesn’t really matter to the GOP. They continue to complain that POTUS isn’t doing anything.
Except, he is. President Obama has pushed for comprehensive immigration reform since first taking office. The bill finally passed the US Senate over one year ago with bipartisan support. That bill included increased border security measures, such as an increase in border patrol agents and more fencing along the Mexican border. However, the House Republicans have refused to act on it, with Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) not allowing it to come up for a vote. The House GOP said they would come up with their own alternative to present to the Senate. On Thursday, that all came to an end.
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) was tasked with coming up with the House’s alternative immigration reform bill. During his tenure in the House, Diaz-Balart has made it a mission of his finally see sweeping changes made to the country’s immigration policy. He has worked with Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), along with others, to come up with at least a somewhat bipartisan solution. Diaz-Balart felt that progress had been made and that the policy his group had come up with easily pass in the House if brought up for a vote. Instead, he informed reporters on Thursday that Republican leadership had told him that immigration reform was officially dead in the House, and they wouldn’t be moving on it at all.
“I’m really, really disappointed. We have a good bill. We have a unique opportunity to secure our borders, fix our broken immigration system, help our economy and do so in a way that adhere to the rule of law. But unfortunately I’ve been told we’re not going to be able to pursue it. And I think that’s highly unfortunate.”
The Florida Republican also told reporters that the main reason he was given by Boehner that they won’t move forward is because they can’t trust the President to enforce the laws. In essence, Boehner told Diaz-Balart that Congress won’t pass any laws while President Obama is in the White House.
I have no idea how Boehner thinks this is going to fly with the American people. It appears he has completely painted himself into a corner. On Thursday, Boehner threw a hissy fit when confronted with a question about passing the President’s emergency spending request regarding the crisis. He wanted to know, “When is the President going to take some responsibility for this.” In essence, he was telling the President to continue to use executive orders to deal with issues affecting the country. At the same time, Boehner is filing a lawsuit against the White House for the use of executive orders.
I have no idea what the endgame is for Republicans in Washington. The fact is, if House Republicans had passed comprehensive immigration reform over a year ago, there would already be more resources at the border to deal with this crisis. Instead, they have to wait until the President sends over an emergency spending measure during the height of a crisis, and then complain about him not doing anything to prevent this situation from occurring. They want him to act like a ‘leader’, yet refuse to work with him and sue him when he circumvents them in order to get something done.
They have no plans, only complaints. Everything is the President’s fault. They can’t trust him. Therefore, they refuse to work with him. Boehner will not allow any bill that comes from the Senate to pass the House. He is just going to sit in a corner, pout, and tell anyone that asks him that it is the President who isn’t doing anything. It is the President who is passing the buck. But the President is also doing too much, and we need to sue him.
It just makes your head spin.