The Republicans Are The Problem On Immigration

Early in the year, the conventional wisdom was that the Republicans were going to sweep to victory due to voter dissatisfaction with the economy, inflation and dysfunction in Washington. The Republicans and the corporate press assumed that the 2022 would be a referendum on the Biden Administration and the Democrats in Washington.

Something different happened on the way to the GOP coronation. The Republicans on the Supreme Court threw out the right to an abortion and Donald Trump again began to dominate the news headlines. Moreover, the price of gas began to plunge. Suddenly, the election became a choice between two futures: progress versus radicalism.

Due to this unexpected shift in voter sentiment, the Republicans have now shifted most of their messaging to immigration and crime. I fully expect a caravan to appear in Mexico in October and disappear on November 9.

Ron DeSantis decided to exploit anti-immigration sentiment among MAGA Republicans by pulling a publicity stunt where an airplane funded by the Florida taxpayers transported Venezuelan migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. In the run up to this cruel ploy, DeSantis bragged to his donors about this caper and even sent a videographer on the plane. Fox News was also given exclusive access to film the migrants.

Representatives of DeSantis approached migrants outside of a shelter in San Antonio and convinced them to board a plane that they claimed was bound for Boston. A woman named Perla falsely told the migrants that they would get expedited work papers. The Florida governor’s representatives lied to the migrants about both their destination and the purpose of the trip. DeSantis chose to use people — including innocent children — as his props and pawns.

Much to the chagrin and surprise of DeSantis and the MAGA Republicans, the migrants were greeted with open arms at Martha’s Vineyard. They were provided food, clothing and shelter. “Did DeSantis hope to prove that a liberal New England enclave hates immigrants as much as far-right Republicans? Apparently so, but he failed spectacularly.” Jonathan Chait.

DeSantis’ ploy was reminiscent of the tactics utilized by the white southern racists during the 1960s. “To embarrass Northern liberals and humiliate Black people, southern White Citizens Councils started their so-called “Reverse Freedom Rides,” giving Black people one-way tickets to northern cities with false promises of jobs, housing, and better lives. White Citizens Councils bused three dozen Black people to Hyannis, the Kennedy home, in 1962.” JFK Library.

Republicans like DeSantis prioritize political theater over actual problem solving because the GOP isn’t capable of governing. When the GOP takes power in Washington, they cut taxes for the rich and confirm radical right wing judges. The disastrous Bush 43 and Trump presidencies are a consequence of the GOP’s inability — even refusal — to govern.

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’ 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%”

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 the Supreme Court have blocked any solutions. The Republicans like to create the problem and run against the solution.

Representative Mike Flood (R-NE) would only perpetuate the problems at the border since he is unwilling to compromise. Flood is opposed to a pathway to citizenship and his only so-called “solution” is to build Trump’s wall.

Patty Pansing Brooks has a good record on immigration in the Nebraska legislature. She has voted for professional licenses and drivers licenses for the Dreamers. These bills were passed on a bi-partisan basis with the support of the business community.

It’s progress versus radicalism in 2022. That is the choice. Vote for Patty Pansing Brooks in Nebraska CD01! Vote Blue in 2022!

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Dennis Crawford

Dennis Crawford

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I’m a trial lawyer, defender of democracy and a sports fan.