We learned today that voters are incredibly supportive of the action that President Obama took to grant deferred action status and provide work permits on a temporary basis for DREAM-eligible students who came to America before the age of 16. As you look closely at the issue, and the Republicans’ inability to approach it – you can see that the move, years in the making, was both good policy and good politics.
Which is why you have leading Republicans trying to rewrite legislative history on the issue:
House Speaker John Boehner criticized the Obama administration’s immigration directive on familiar process-related grounds — having apparently forgotten that he’d quashed nearly all hope of getting the DREAM Act through Congress this year.
“It puts everyone in a difficult position,” Boehner complained at a press availability Tuesday, arguing that the administration’s unilateral move made reaching a bipartisan legislative solution more difficult.
But weeks ago, Boehner admitted that enacting DREAM-like legislation to provide legal status to certain unauthorized immigrants brought to the United States as children would be nearly impossible in this Congress.
This is the attempted dodge Republicans are making, that this short-term response forestalls a long-term solution. This only makes sense if a long-term solution was in any way a viable option. And given the public pronouncements from Republicans over the past several months, it’s clear that it wasn’t. The DREAM Act passed the strongly Democratic House in 2010 with only a handful of Republican votes, and was stymied in the Senate with even less. Both of those chambers are more Republican now. Marco Rubio’s proposal was nothing more than a talking point without legislative language, and even at that stage, Boehner shot it down.
In this interesting interview between Rubio and Charlie Pierce, you can see the Florida Senator struggling with this transparent complaint, about how a long-term problem requires a long-term solution. Pierce explains that with movement now, as opposed to what the status quo was going to look like, perhaps bringing DREAMers out of the shadows will force additional movement. Rubio falls back to his talking points about being undercut and Congress getting cut out of the deal. But they cut themselves out of the deal. And since we have no mechanism to deport 12 million undocumented immigrants tomorrow, you have to focus your resources, and moving them away from those who had no agency in the decision to come to America is simply common sense.