For any American who has been conscious over the past six years, the idea of a Republican, or any iteration thereof, displaying tenderness, compassion, and empathy for people is laughable if not a complete fallacy; especially people who are suffering or in some way distressed. If anything, Republicans and their cohorts are inhumane by choice, and next to being hypocrites, rivals their racism as major defining characteristics of the entire conservative movement. Since President Obama announced he was fed up, like a majority of Americans, waiting for Republicans to take action on immigration reform, Republicans revealed, in grand fashion, their inhumanity, racism, and hypocrisy in their outrage over executive action on immigration.
Even before the President threatened he would use his authority as head of the Executive branch to “reform” immigration enforcement policy if Republicans failed to act, all manner of conservatives called such a move unprecedented, outrageous, and a gross display of Presidential overreach. They have since threatened impeachment, a lawsuit, eliminating executive authority for President Obama, and force the government to shutdown if the African American President dared do what Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush did in regards to immigration; use executive authority in a humane act towards immigrants.
Now, Republicans will never admit it, but their man-turned-god, Ronald Reagan, was the first Republican president to take executive action on immigration to put a screeching halt to his party’s inhumane treatment of Hispanic immigrants. In 1986, Ronald Reagan signed the what would prove to be the last comprehensive immigration reform bill to pass Congress. The legislation, the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) granted up to 3 million undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship if they had lived in America “continuously” since 1982, or four years; nearly identical to President Obama’s proposal for comprehensive immigration reform Ted Cruz will not let House Republicans debate or vote on.
There was a problem with the new immigration law that bothered Reagan’s conscience because it did not include spouses and children of the 3 million immigrants the law affected. At the time, the Senate Judiciary Committee said that the “families of legalized aliens would be required to “wait in line.” This abomination of “split-eligibility families” also wore on the consciences of the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) that drove them to condemn the separation of families that conflicted with Reagan’s so-called “pro-family” bona fides.
A year later some members of Congress offered up a legislative fix to include the now-legal immigrants’ family members in the IRCA, but it failed. So when Congress failed to do the humane thing and keep immigrant families intact, Ronald Reagan took it upon himself and changed the policy under executive authority, and “prosecutorial discretion” to extend the protections against deportations. Not surprisingly, there was no outrage, claims of presidential overreach, threats of impeachment, lawsuits against Reagan, government shutdowns, or summary elimination of his use of executive orders. Current Republicans are well-aware of Reagan’s executive action but it was a different story ‘then’ because that president was a white man.
The next white Republican president, George H.W. Bush, took nearly identical executive action in 1989 as his predecessor Reagan without the approval, or input, of Congress. The first President Bush agreed with Reagan, and President Obama, that immigration law “would be enforced humanely” without tearing immigrant families apart. Like his white Republican predecessor, the elder Bush’s executive actions were not unprecedented, outrageous, presidential overreach, and he was not threatened with a lawsuit, government shutdown, impeachment, or summary loss of his executive authority through the budget process.
The next white Republican president, and another less-intelligent but no less compassionate Bush, George W, in 2008 signed into law a humane immigration reauthorization to protect immigrant children from three Central American nations. The bill was co-sponsored by Republicans Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, and Chris Smith of New Jersey. The children get a fair hearing, are placed with family members or appropriate homes to ensure they are not victims of human trafficking.
This is the Bush-Republican law President Obama is following that has Republicans apoplectic and summoning armed militias, and national guard units to the Southern border. There were no threats to impeach, sue, shutdown the government, or abolish Bush’s executive authority. In fact, Bush had said a couple of years earlier that “We’re a nation of immigrants, and we must uphold that tradition, which has strengthened our country in so many ways.” The only difference between what President Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush did in taking humane action on immigration is that one of those four U.S. presidents (the Black one) is taking unprecedented action and abusing executive authority. That one President is also being threatened with a congressional lawsuit, impeachment, a government shutdown, and loss of executive authority for the high crime and misdemeanor of taking the same humane executive action as three white Republican presidents.
It is noteworthy that every president since and including Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower has taken executive action on immigration without facing threats of lawsuits, government shutdowns, impeachment, or loss of executive authority; because they were white. No American dare ever say the current crop of Republicans, teabaggers, conservative pundits, and conservative media are not inherently racist, hypocritical, and living representations of vile inhumanity. Fortunately, history will portray them for exactly what they are; hypocritical and inhumane racists who hate immigrants just as much as they hate the African American man occupying the White House.