On a 237-190 vote, the Republican-controlled U.S. House has voted to cancel President Obama’s executive order on immigration. That order brought temporary deportation relief to around four million immigrants here illegally who met certain criteria.
With today’s vote, a majority of Republican members of Congress made it be known that they have no interest in providing deportation relief for immigrant families. Instead, they would rather placate the angry white xenophobes who make up a substantial portion of their voting base. Of course, while that strategy may be the best way to stave off GOP primary challenges in deep red congressional districts, it does put the party at risk in national elections. Hispanic voters can prove decisive in pivotal swing states like Colorado and Nevada. By their action Wednesday, the Republican Party may have kissed those states goodbye again in 2016.
The Latino vote went 44 percent for George W. Bush in 2004. Bush, despite his many political shortcomings, never practiced demagoguery on the immigration issue. However, since the emergence of the tea party faction in the GOP ranks, the Latino vote has become increasingly Democratic. Mitt Romney garnered just 27 percent of the Latino vote in 2012. While the few remaining moderate voices in the Republican Party have called for a softening of the party’s stance on immigration issues, the core of the party continues to cater to anti-immigrant bigotry. Today’s vote represents a significant doubling down on that dubious political strategy.
Another amendment passed, designed to overturn Obama’s 2012 policy which granted work permits and stays of deportations to immigrants who arrived illegally as children. That measure passed 218-209. Both measures are likely to further alienate Latino voters. They will head to the Senate next, but should they pass through the Senate, they are almost certain to be vetoed by the president. Congress will not have enough votes to override a presidential veto, but they do have enough votes recorded to show where the Republican Party stands on immigration.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.