Never a Dull Moment in Immigration

Over the last week or so, there has been a lot of chatter about the GOP and what they intend to do about immigration.  There’s talk of defunding DHS, though I doubt that’s a serious option. I don’t see the GOP taking funding away from the agency in charge of a good chunk of national security.  There’s also talk of passing immigration legislation to possibly short-circuit Obama’s Executive Order, or to simply establish the GOP’s immigration priorities.  Who knows what will actually come of all of this?

I will be floored if the GOP is able to pass legislation through Congress that Obama would also sign. Any such legislation would probably try and stop DACA/DAP, among other things, and I just don’t see Obama going for that no matter what else is in the bill.  In a way, this is kind of a shame.  The GOP could actually put forth a bill, that when coupled with the Executive Order, give both sides of the aisle something they want.  The Dems can keep Obama’s Executive Order, but the GOP could still get the increases it wants in border security and business visas.  It would represent a significant step forward, even if it was just a first step.

Blaming partisan politics for the lack of movement on immigration is a little cliched, and in my opinion, only partially true. But, it definitely does have an effect. The bulk of each side wants a complete victory, and compromise seems unlikely – save for a few moderates here and there. It’s more important for politicians on both sides to represent to their constituents that they “won’t back down to the liberal/conservative agenda” than it is to actually solve the issue. As long as we live in a representative democracy, that’s just the way it is going to be, unfortunately. All the incentives make staying in office more important than “doing work.”  See, e.g., Obama’s lack of action on immigration during his first term.  He could have done that on Day 1.  That’s politics for you. Better late than never, I guess.


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