House Republicans are Pummeled From Right and Left for Opposing CIR. Will They Listen?

by Roger Algase

For the great majority of Americans, who support real immigration reform, not just more of the same old right wing calls for more border security and internal enforcement, it is almost inconceivable that CIR could be on life support (as an MSNBC commentator put it on the July 11 Rachel Maddow show) and might actually fail.

Even though recent developments (or lack of them) in the House of Representatives have lead to a good deal of gloom and doom for CIR in the media, which I have also expressed in my own recent comments, there may be a faint few rays of hope that sanity might somehow prevail in the House.

The following headlines in the July 11 Politico could give some support to this view:

Parties seek advantage in immigration dance

Cantor, Goodlatte, want young immigrants bill

Paul to GOP: "Welcome" immigrants

McCain: Senate would work with piecemeal immigration bill

Chuck Schumer encouraged by House immigration talks

and, most reassuring of all:

Immigration reform isn't dead.

The hope, obviously, is that by putting an optimistic face on the slow train wreck for CIR that is now going on in the House, things will somehow work out for reform. It is also possible that House Republicans may be finally beginning to feel pressure from within their own party.

During the 2012 presidential campaign, no one was more of a straight GOP party-line apologist than Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post.

Reading her columns, one could have wondered whether she was supporting Mitt Romney for president or for sainthood. She had an explanation for almost every weird twist and turn of the gaffe-prone disaster that was the Romney campaign.

But now, evidently freed from her loyalty to Mr. "Self-Deportation" Rubin has turned into a strong immigration advocate on the right and a fierce critic of the GOP's anti-immigrant wing:

In her July 11 WP column: The dumbest excuse ever, Rubin assails her fellow Republicans who are trying to use their alleged lack of trust in President Obama as an excuse for opposing immigration reform in the strongest possible language:

"In short, the argument [that President Obama cannot be trusted to enforce the immigration laws] is really the sort of one-line radio talk show hosts spout. For elected officials charged with addressing the country's problems, it is a shameful abdication of responsibility. But it is revealing of the predicament in which GOP House members now find themselves. Doing nothing about an issue they demagogued for years is harder than you might think." (Italics added)

And on the left, WP columnist Eugene Robinson writes in The Party of No, July 11):

"So the House Republicans' intransigence isn't really about the border. It's about avoiding the central question, which is what to do about the 11 million undocumented migrants who are here already."

The majority of House Republicans are not going to be persuaded to give up their long-standing anti-immigrant, anti-Latino, anti-minority posture merely by hoping for some clever parliamentary devices which have been bandied about (such as a "discharge petition" to permit a House vote on S.744 without Speaker Boehner's approval, or a series of piecemeal House immigration bills leading to a Senate conference).

The majority of House Republicans will stop blocking reform only when they finally realize that they are so out of touch with demographic change in 21st Century America that they are putting their party's continued existence in danger.

It is now up to immigrant communities, and immigration advocates, to make that case.