Right Wing Republicans Have Blocked Immigration Reform

Dennis Crawford
7 min readJan 7, 2024
Right wing Republicans don’t want to pass an immigration bill.

At the present time, the economy and consumer sentiment are improving. Inflation is now around 3% and the unemployment rate has been below 4% for twenty three months. In addition, the rate of homicides and crime declined significantly in 2023. This has upended the Republican plans to run on dissatisfaction with the economy and a fear campaign on crime.

Due to these positive trends, the Republicans now plan to run on immigration and the so-called border crisis. I fully expect a caravan to appear in Mexico in October and disappear on November 6. In past election cycles, immigration has failed to sway the voters outside of the hardcore GOP base. It has ended up being the dog that didn’t bark.

The reality is that the right wing of the GOP has created the problem. The right wing Republicans’ disdain for governing has resulted in America’s broken immigration system. MAGA Republicans don’t want to solve the problem. Instead, they want to maintain the issue to keep their base in a state of outrage and agitation. There has been a long history of GOP obstruction of immigration reform.

In 2007, a conservative Republican filibuster killed a bi-partisan immigration reform bill in the Senate that was co-sponsored by Ted Kennedy and John McCain. This legislation was a classic compromise that consisted of an earned pathway to citizenship and more resources for border security.

Three years later, in 2010, the House passed the DREAM Act but it was blocked by a right wing filibuster in the Senate. This bill would have created an earned pathway to citizenship for aspiring Americans brought to the U.S. as children.

The best opportunity to reform our immigration system was in 2013 when the Senate passed a bill similar to the 2007 Kennedy-McCain bill by an overwhelming 68–32 majority. This time, John Boehner was afraid to offend the extremists in the House GOP caucus and never allowed an up or down vote on the bill even though it had a support of the majority in the House.

Instead of allowing a vote on a bill that would have fixed our immigration system, Boehner held a vote in 2013 on a bill that would have defunded the DACA program and allowed the federal government to treat Dreamers in the same way as violent criminals.

Republican obstruction continued into the Trump Administration. In 2018, Chuck Schumer offered $25 billion for a border wall in exchange for DACA protections for Dreamers. After Trump tentatively agreed to these terms, Chief of Staff John Kelly called Schumer to renege on the agreement in principle and said the plan couldn’t get the support of the far right. Trump himself declared that he’d need far more in any deal, including significant cuts to legal immigration.

Trump’s most prominent immigration promise was that Mexico would pay for the wall. The former TV reality star made this promise over two hundred times. The 2016 Trump campaign website even guaranteed that Mexico would send a check within one week of Trump’s inauguration. Mexico never paid for the wall.

Trump’s immigration and border policies turned out to be a miserable failure. The current border surge began in the summer of 2020. Senator Christopher Murphy (D-CT) pointed out that: “The surge at the border began in the fall of 2020, in the last four months of Donald Trump’s presidency there was an 80 percent surge in apprehensions at the border.”

Murphy followed up that interview with another tweet on immigration: “I’m not contesting there has been an increase in apprehensions. What I’m pointing out is that it didn’t start when Biden became President.

Here’s the rough data on % increases in border encounters in 2020:

Jun-Aug — 73%

Sept-Nov — 44%

Dec-Feb — 38%”

Biden inherited a mess at the border from Trump.

What’s more, Biden transition officials maintain that the Trump Administration delayed taking action on the surge at border. According to NBC News: “In early December, the Biden transition team and career government officials began sounding an alarm on the need to increase shelter space for the large number of migrant children expected to soon be crossing the border, but the Trump administration didn’t take action until just days before the inauguration, according to two Biden transition officials and a U.S. official with knowledge of the discussions.”

Joe Biden inherited a mess at the border from Trump. Since Biden has taken office, the Republicans in the Congress and on the Supreme Court have blocked any solutions. The Republicans like to create the problem and run against the solution.

More recently, the D.C. Republicans killed immigration reform during the 2022 Congressional lame duck session. Mitch McConnell denied an up or down vote on a promising bill with bi-partisan support that would have granted a path to citizenship for 2 million dreamers while overhauling the way asylum-seeking migrants are processed. Thanks to the Republicans, both will now remain intractable problems for years to come.

The federal spending bill that Congress passed in December 2022 included increased funding for border security and the hiring of more agents. More than 85% of Republicans in Congress voted against it.

Republican obstruction of efforts to secure the border have continued into 2023–24. Just last week, the White House issued a statement accusing House GOPers of ducking the chance to address the issue they’ve been attacking.

“Actions speak louder than words,” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a statement issued before the Republican staged a media event at the border. “House Republicans’ anti-border security record is defined by attempting to cut Customs and Border Protection personnel, opposing President Biden’s record-breaking border security funding, and refusing to take up the President’s supplemental funding request.”

While the House Republicans took another undeserved vacation in December 2023-January 2024, Senators from both parties have continued to negotiate a compromise border bill. These negotiations are necessary because the House GOP has blocked aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan unless the Democrats cave and pass an extreme GOP immigration bill.

The House Republicans have now signaled that they won’t pass any bipartisan border deal the Senate comes up with. Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX) said the quiet part out loud: “I’m not willing to do too damn much right now to help a Democrat and to help Joe Biden’s approval rating. I will not help the Democrats try to improve this man’s dismal approval ratings. I’m not going to do it.” When you don’t care about actually governing the country, but only about pretending to care so you can exploit opportunities for gaining power, this is how you behave.

“Republicans: “The BORDER is an URGENT CRISIS.”

Democrats: “Ok, let’s see what we can do.”

Republicans: “Never mind. Can’t do anything regarding the border for the next ten months if it might help Joe Biden.”

Truth: Republicans don’t care about the border.” (Bill Kristol.)

“Republicans aren’t negotiating in good faith. It’s time for nine GOP senators to accept Biden’s money for the border plus Ukraine & Israel, pass it, get a handful of House Rs to join a discharge petition, and get aid to Ukraine. Ukrainians are dying while Republicans are lying. “(Bill Kristol.)

The MAGA Republican plan for 2024 is to sabotage the country and our allies, and hope that Biden gets blamed. They support a continued border surge and hope that Ukraine and Israel lose their wars. It’s rule or ruin for the MAGA Republicans.

Will Don Bacon and Mike Flood step up? Or will they continue to obstruct and allow our enemies to win wars in Ukraine and Israel? The House GOP is a threat to the security of the free world.

The stakes couldn’t be any higher in 2024. Your freedom and democracy are on the line. Trump has promised to govern as a dictator. This could be your last chance to ever vote in a free and fair election again.

“Staying home in the 2024 presidential election, casting a protest vote for a fringe candidate or voting for Trump all amount to the same thing: a willingness to consign American democracy to the dustbin of history and turn over the presidency to a profoundly unfit, dangerous character. Voters who chose one of these options cannot complain if a Trump second term systematically shreds their cherished values and dismantles constitutional government.” Jennifer Rubin.

If the country collapses during a Trump presidency, you will be prosecuted and arrested if you dissent. Donald Trump has promised to deploy the military to arrest protesters under the Insurrection Act. There are no checks on the president’s power under this law. Trump has also promised to prosecute political opponents and journalists.

There wouldn’t be any real checks and balances in a second Trump presidency. The Republicans in Congress would just let Trump do what he wants to do. The current SCOTUS has a 6–3 GOP majority. Would they save the Constitution from Trump? Do you want to take that chance?

It’s America or Trump in 2024. Choose wisely.



Dennis Crawford

I’m an aspiring historian, defender of democracy and a sports fan.