Immigration

Republicans on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown Over Obama's "Executive Amnesty"

They can't figure out a way to fund the DHS and defund Obama's executive action

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Last December, after the mid-term shellacking that cost Democrats the Senate by a margin unexpected, not only Republicans, but even smart-set liberal wonks such as Ezra Klein and Matt Yglesias were counseling the president to cease and desist on his executive order on immigration or, at the very least, water it down.

Openly ridiculing White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest who said that  President Obama would go forward with

Immigrant.Family.BreakingUp

his executive action, Klein scoffed "But…really?…"Republicans just won overwhelming victories in the House, the Senate and the states, but Obama is going to go ahead and announce a major executive action all of them disagree with? At this point, if the action happens at all, my guess is it will be a lot smaller than supporters are expecting."

However, I argued that this was poor political advise regardless of where one stood on the issue of broader immigration reform. I advised the president that the smart thing to do would be to stick to his guns and go big. Not only is mass deferral of deportation for undocumented workers well within the vast prosecutorial discretion that Congress itself granted him in the 1986 Immigration and Naturalization Act, I have repeatedly pointed out, but it would also be smart politics. That's because, unlike in the mid-term, many more Latino swing states would be in play in the 2016 elections. Moreover, I noted, the more Republicans resisted his executive action, the more they would cement their reputation as anti-minority, something that would hurt them over the long run when whites become a plurality in this country. More immediately, however, I predicted, it would produce a civil war within the restrictionist and the moderate wings of the Republican party, causing it to self destruct.

President Obama took this advice and deferred deportation against four million unauthorized foreigners with American family or close community ties and no criminal record. And look what has happened since.

Last month, the GOP leadership convinced restrictionists to temporarily hold their fire and pass a Cromnibus spending bill that would fund all federal departments till the end of fiscal 2015, except for DHS, which would be funded only till the end of this month. The plan was to use DHS funding as leverage to get Democrats – and the president – to back off on the so-called "executive amnesty" (their exaggerated term for a three-year reprieve from deportation that does not even offer a path to legalization let alone citizenship) while avoiding a repeat performance of the 2013 government shutdown that splashed so much egg on the GOP's face.

So how's it working out?

Well, this week, for three days in a row, ultra-restrictionists in the Senate such as Mike Lee, Ted Cruz and Jeff Sessions — aided and abetted by the hapless majority leader Mitch McConnell — demanded a procedural vote to debate a bill that would fund the DHS till the end of the year while stripping funding for all of Obama's immigration executive actions dating back to 2011, including DACA — his suspension of deferment proceedings against the so-called DREAMers who were brought here illegally as kids.

And for three days in a row, Democrats — using the filibuster rules that the Ezra Klein had advised them to kill when they held the Senate majority — prevented the vote from going ahead.

It is abundantly clear at this point that Republicans aren't going to break through the Democratic wall as they had hoped. Smearing them with accusations of "amnesty" is not going to cause the American public to rise in an uproar, ring their elected representatives deaf, and demand that they support the restrictionists against their own president.

So it is very likely that the DHS —which is in charge not only of deportations but also border patrol and airport security etc. — is headed for a shutdown. (Both chambers of Congress headed home Thursday without a resolution. And with a brief recess scheduled for the week of Presidents Day, Congress has only eight working days left before DHS funding runs out.)

Restrictionists — the self-appointed champions of border security — are minimizing the seriousness of this by arguing that most of DHS functions are considered essential and therefore employees will have to report to work, regardless of whether they get paid or not. But that line is likely to stick only till the first news reports of border patrol agents unable to buy medicines for their sick children hit the stands.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), a moderate, has tried to work out a compromise that'll defund only the president's latest executive action while keeping DACA intact. But neither Democrats nor GOP restrictionists are going for that.

With no end game in sight and no way out of the GOP's own self-created box, what's happening? "A GOP Meltdown," as an International Business Times headline blared.

The moderate wing led by Arizona's Sen. John McCain (who else?) has declared the GOP strategy as the very "definition of insanity." Yet if he — and his moderate counterparts in the House — try and prod the GOP leadership to offer a clean DHS funding bill that leaves Obama's executive action unmolested, the leadership might well risk a restrictionist revolt that it might well not be able to weather.

Meanwhile, what is President Obama doing? Watching the show and ROTFLHAO (and thanking his lucky stars that he ignored the smart, young Turks on his side and listened to his libertarian detractors instead).

And who can blame him?

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  1. Republicans on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown Over Obama’s “Executive Amnesty”

    Hyperbole much?

    1. It’s especially funny coming from the hack who needs a feintng couch every time PM Modi gives a speech.

      1. what about a dictionary? spell check?

        Or are commenting hacks immune to such criticisms?

        1. Zing. The yelp lets me know you don’t have a response.

          1. It’s a mater of taste. I enjoy articles that take a world view and inform me of the cult of personality that is impacting billions of lives daily.

    2. She’s competing with Gillespie for the title of Immigration Queen.

      I still think he’s winning.

  2. “…a repeat performance of the 2013 government shutdown that splashed so much egg on the GOP’s face.”

    Which accounts for their healthy shine.

    Did the “government shutdown” have any observable ill effects?

    1. It apparently caused a “Democratic meltdown” since the Democratic moderates couldn’t find an amendment to break the unified GOP opposition in the Senate to their budget cap busting.

      There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the Democrats in the Senate filibustering, but it’s absurd to treat it so differently from the GOP filibustering over excess spending– unless Shikha really wanted the sequester caps lifted and spending increased as much as she (and I) want more immigration.

      1. Shika wants her fucking pony

        1. Shika wants a class of people she and her cronies can legally treat as second class citizens.

  3. Let me into your lifeboat. Yes it was silly for me and my family use our assigned lifeboat as firewood, but how dare i say how dare you object when me and my entire family climb aboard. And you better bet that rather than head for land we are going to stay out here all night until every one of my cousins is found. And don’t even try to get us to not take dumps in the boat.

    It’s your fault for keeping your lifeboat seaworthy. If you’d only pooped all over your lifeboat and used it for firewood you wouldn’t have a lifeboat that we are now demanding access to.

    1. Hey Sam, we aren’t IN A FUCKING LIFEBOAT.

      Do you use that as justification for your support of increasing state control of all aspects of life as ‘libertarian principles wouldn’t work in a lifeboat’?

      1. Get back to me when we abolish borders. Controlling access to one’s borders is the opposite of socialist. It is precisely the type of function a government is supposed to do. Public costs yeilding public benefit. It’s the open border supports who are the socialist. Socialize the cost of immigrantion and privatize the benefits.

        1. WTF are you talking about socialize the costs? What costs?

          The costs of welfare use? Then get rid of welfare – it a far greater drain on the nation that immigration could ever be.

          No – people like you *like* borders because it gives you the power to keep people out. You just like the power to tell people what to do.

          1. shhhhh- he’s a statist who is simply looking to justify his desire for state control.

          2. Then get rid of welfare

            Because it’s just that easy, right? Snap your fingers and it’s gone forever.

          3. Yes, asshole, I LIKE the idea of personal property. I can give you countless illustrations of the tragedy of the commons to show you why this assinine leftist ‘your house is my house’ idea DOES NOT WORK. EVER.

            We need to shift to MORE personal, private property rather than less.

            Take property FROM the hands of government, FROM a place where morons can suggest anyone can run roughshod over it because it’s ‘public’, and TO a place where I can shoot the ‘undocumented immigrant’ you pay slave wages to watch your children if it steps off your property on to mine.

            Corpse-fucking and HERCULing. All on one thread.

        2. It is precisely the type of function a government is supposed to do.

          The state is a monopolist supplier of certain goods and services. A monopoly owing it’s existence to the threats it makes to it’s customers, threats to kidnap them, extort them, enslave them, kill them or worse. That’s pretty fucking socialist.

    2. You don’t own me, you don’t own my house, you don’t own my company, and you don’t have the right to say who I can invite into my lifeboat.

      Get out of here with your socialist talk.

      1. And unfortunately you don’t own the lifeboat. Like I said when you get around to abolishing the nation state we can talk.

        1. you don’t own the lifeboat either. go worship at the alter of the state and pray to keep brown skinned people out.

        2. You’re the one trying to make the nation state stronger, statist, and your anti-immigration policies will only make it more so.

          Your same stupid lines are used to justify every single government grab besides yours.

    3. WTF are you talking about?

  4. I have no tears to cry, no feelings left. This species has amused itself to death.

    (Great alt text, but, alas, it counts for naught.)

  5. Principals ahead of principles.

  6. listened to his libertarian detractors instead

    Yeah right.

  7. It’s not a “GOP Meltdown” when the Democrats stay united in their filibuster defending an unpopular policy any more than it was a Democratic Meltdown when the Republicans stayed united in theirs. (Though the latter was generally called “GOP Obstructionism.”)

    1. The GOP would like to change it; the Democrats are using the filibuster in exactly the way that they have the rights to (and that silly people complain about when the other team does), and Obama would veto it anyway.

      The criticism for these procedures (and the vetoes) always and everywhere has to do with what the commentator thinks of the underlying policy, no matter how much they wrap it up in talk of “Meltdowns” and “Obstructionism” and what have you. This is simply what happens when parties don’t agree.

      1. Pretty much this. When the voters punish whichever sid ehas the unpopular position, the will scream like stuck pigs.

  8. The House holds the power of the purse precisely so that they can veto the policy-making of the president. But now, when they try to do their jobs, people scream bloody murder. “Why won’t Congress do their job?” they shriek, and demand that Congress bend to the president’s every whim.

    We have this big machine that is supposed to have built-in checks and balances, but nobody seems to remember how or why it was built. When it is properly used, people become enraged. I guess it’s time to stop calling the United States a republic.

    1. checks and balances…that’s when I cash my free check from the government and improve my bank balance, right?

      1. No son, its when you cut a check to the government to cover your ever increasing tax bill and watch your bank balance dwindle.

        But worry not! The government’s got a soup kitchen running down the street. You just have to make sure to get there during operating hours 9-13 M/W/F only.

        1. I went down there on Friday, but the hours were changed. Now it’s 9-12.

    2. The power of the purse is good for making the executive stop doing something you don’t want him to do, but not very good for making them start doing something they don’t want to do.

      Obama doesn’t need money to not deport people, so cutting off funding doesn’t hurt his ability to continue not deporting people.

      1. As Congress found out with respect to MJ decriminalization in DC.

      2. That’s not entirely true. Failing to uphold the law is one thing. But he is also giving documents to many of the folks benefiting from deferred action. Furthermore, a federal judge just ruled that Arizona must respect these documents and issue drivers’ licenses to the people holding them. So, Obama is actually able to (a) take positive actions, which is why defunding would work and (b) impose costs on the states as a consequence of his actions.

          1. Wow, you mean individuals states aren’t allowed to go “I don’t care if you have a permit to be here, we’ve decided your illegal anyways!”? I’m just shocked.

            1. At least you implicitly concede here that a permit was issued here. In your last comment, you argued that Obama was failing to act rather than acting.

              DACA is about deferred action. The people in question are not here legally, but their deportation has been indefinitely deferred. The federal government failing to uphold the law and deport them changes their legal status.

              1. Can you show us where it says in the statutes that the government HAS TO deport them? Because when I see that, maybe I’ll agree that choosing to not go forward with prosecuting an immigration case is breaking the law.

      3. He needs money to issue amnesty cards, which is what he is doing

        1. Deferred Action isn’t Amnesty any more than a deferred prosecution is an Acquittal.

          The Fee for DACA IS $385, which supposedly pays all administrative costs. There are no waivers for this cost except for very limited cases.

          1. Do you not know what the word “amnesty” means? Are you unclear about the nature of the “deferred action”?

            1. I know what Amnesty means, and I know a considerable amount about every aspect of Deferred Action. I’ve personally handled dozens of DACA cases, deferred action VAWA cases, and now am assisting a former client prepare for a DAPA case.

              So why don’t you enlighten me? Tell me how a temporary reprieve, which creates no right; can be rescinded at any time; doesn’t provide lawful status; and doesn’t allow for adjustment of status is in any way an Amnesty similar to the one that happened either in the 1980s or later afforded to those who had a valid petition approved prior to April 2001. Clear it up for me, please.

  9. Netanyahu decides to throw Congressional Republicans under the bus:

    Israeli official suggests Boehner misled Netanyahu on Congress speech

    A senior Israeli official suggested on Friday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had been misled into thinking an invitation to address the U.S. Congress on Iran next month was fully supported by the Democrats.

    1. Key-rist. You’d think the Democrats would have the balls to protect at least *some* of their power.

      Even if they don’t want to embarrass a president of their own party, Obama’s statements (that they need *his* permission) should be enough for some backlash.

      1. Obama’s statements (that they need *his* permission) should be enough for some backlash.

        Yeah right.

  10. “I advised the president that the smart thing to do would be to stick to his guns and go big. Not only is mass deferral of deportation for undocumented workers well within the vast prosecutorial discretion that Congress itself granted him in the 1986 Immigration and Naturalization Act, I have repeatedly pointed out, but it would also be smart politics.”

    I think we’re in danger of missing the forest for the trees.

    Obama has rationalizations for all the imperious things he’s done. Just because we happen to agree with one in principle is no reason for libertarians to start rationalizing any part of his grand pattern of imperious behavior.

    And even if we agree with Obama’s objectives for our own distinct reasons, it should be noted that Obama isn’t doing this out of a sense of sympathy or to strike a blow for liberty.

    Obama is doing this to stack future elections in the Democrats’ favor.

    1. Obama has rationalizations for all the imperious things he’s done. Just because we happen to agree with one in principle is no reason for libertarians to start rationalizing any part of his grand pattern of imperious behavior.

      Because many libertarians are as unprincipled as the Republicans and Democrats they attack for being unprincipled.

      Obama is doing this to stack future elections in the Democrats’ favor.

      Libertarian moment! These immigrants will realize that the Democrats suck and vote libertarian.

      1. “Because many libertarians are as unprincipled as the Republicans and Democrats they attack for being unprincipled.”

        Just as unprincipled as the Republicans and Democrats is probably going too far. As devotees to the cause of freedom, we’re pretty principled. Generally speaking, if we’re being inconsistent on any particular issue, it’s usually because we’re being principled on the greater cause of freedom.

        Like everyone else, libertarians care about some things more than others. I think it’s pretty clear that Shikha Dalmia cares a lot about immigration.

        You know what I care about more than anything else?

        The income tax.

        I hate the income tax. I think it’s the most socialist, redistributive, coercive thing about our government, and if Barack Obama suddenly threatened to use an executive order to abolish the income tax and replace it with a more voluntary sales tax of some kind–no matter what Congress says?

        I would have a really hard time seeing past my glee to condemn Obama’s imperious behavior. But that’s what he’d be doing–acting imperiously.

        Maybe I’d be consistent about criticizing that imperious, unconstitutional behavior, and maybe I wouldn’t. If Rand Paul were doing it as a part of some grand patter of increasing individual liberty, I’m not sure I’d be being so inconsistent.

        Regardless, Obama isn’t doing this as part of a grand pattern to increase liberty. He’s doing it amidst a patter of imperious behavior–and that’s easy to condemn.

        1. I would have a really hard time seeing past my glee to condemn Obama’s imperious behavior. But that’s what he’d be doing–acting imperiously.

          Well you would be giving the President the power to levy taxes at will which undermines liberty.

          1. I would be supporting unconstitutional behavior–perhaps–because I believed what he was doing was in the greater cause of liberty.

            But that’s not exactly the same as being unprincipled on liberty. If I’m sticking to the cause of liberty–even if that means going against the Constitution–then in regards to my stand on individual liberty, “unprincipled” isn’t the right word.

            And, anyway, I’d probably just qualify my support–like I did with Obama when he joined a coalition of Europeans, Qataris, and Libyans in the rebellion against Gaddafi.

            I used to come here and say, “You know, I can’t support letting the President effectively declare war without Congress, but if Obama had come to Congress and sought a declaration of war, limited to the air, I’d think Congress should support him on it–and here’s why:…”.

            1. If you attacked Obama for not obeying the Constitution only to support him disobeying on something you like then that would unprincipled.

              Saying that “The Imperial Presidency is bad except when POTUS is doing something I like” is unprincipled and exactly the same attitude that the Democrats and Republicans have toward the Imperial Presidency.

              1. “If you attacked Obama for not obeying the Constitution only to support him disobeying on something you like then that would unprincipled.”

                It’s not unprincipled to the cause of liberty.

                I only support the Constitution to the extent that it protects our liberty.

                If the Constitution is incompatible with individual liberty on some issue, then I tend to side with individual liberty.

                Sometimes respecting the Constitution is more important for personal liberty than violating it in the name of freedom–and some libertarians are likely to disagree with others on those issues.

                I’m looking at the general pattern of Obama’s imperious behavior, and I don’t see a pattern of expanding individual liberty. I see a pattern of Obama denigrating individual liberty as if it were an evil, and so I’d rather oppose this imperious behavior as an extension of Obama’s freedom denigrating pattern.

                I can see how different individual libertarians might disagree on this issue, though. But if I’m disagreeing with Shikha Dalmia and she’s disagreeing with me, it’s because we both want to maximize liberty–we just disagree about the best way to do that on this issue.

                If I want to maximize liberty and Shikha Dalmia wants to maximize liberty, then neither of us are being unprincipled on maximizing liberty.

                1. https://reason.com/archives/201…..ower-grabs

                  But the fact of the matter is that when Obama can get away with deploying his executive power to accomplish his agenda, he does so without pause or hesitation, constitutional niceties such as checks-and-balances be damned. His many power grabs are worthy of a book.

                  Except when he does something she likes. How is that principled?

                2. “I only support the Constitution to the extent that it protects our liberty”, says the libertarian.

                  “I only support the Constitution to the extent that it fosters social justice”, says the progressive.

                  1. Thank goodness the Constitution (as written) generally supports individual liberty against the state.

                    No wonder the progressives are generally hostile to the Constitution.

            2. If I’m sticking to the cause of liberty–even if that means going against the Constitution

              If the country were still following the Constitution then I would be careful about doing that, as it is a pretty good document, but unfortunately America abandoned it some time ago and I think it is trickier to object to executive actions that are freedom increasing because what the country is doing on that front has not been working. It would continue the dangerous concentration of power in the executive branch, however, even for something that might be good, and I have trouble accepting that as a positive, even for things that I like. It’s a troubling aspect of modern American politics that I don’t see itself reversing without Congress growing some major backbone and principle, which is something I think is unlikely.

                1. There has long been a strand in the classical liberal tradition that dreams a temporary dictatorship could be a stepping stone, even a shortcut, to reform.

                  1. Yeah, different libertarians disagree on how best to maximize liberty.

                    That’s one of the great things about being a libertarian: once we agree that everyone should be free to make choices for themselves, we don’t have to agree on much else.

    2. Libertarians at reason dont give a fuck. They want their immigration pot and government sactioned ass sex by any means necessary

    3. Obama is doing this to stack future elections in the Democrats’ favor.

      And Republicans have chosen to appeal to racist whites for the same reason. Surely you’re not shocked by the presence of politics here. It wouldn’t make any sense for Obama to take politically harmful executive actions. He’d be vulnerable on all fronts for that.

  11. lol. The DHS cards exist purely and simply so that Illegals can get the earned income tax credit. Meanwhile the Republicans are too spineless to defund a bloated and redundant organization. We’re doomed.

  12. it would also be smart politics

    Hypocrisy of the highest Order from Reason.

    1. Not really. You’re just obtuse and tiresome.

      1. If libertarians cared about “smart politics” they wouldn’t be libertarian.

        1. If libertarians cared about “smart politics” they wouldn’t be libertarian.

          Can’t disagree with him there.

  13. I think it is a little unfair to label Cruz as ultra-restrictionist given that he wants to expand H1Bs. Other than that and the stupid meme-speak fine article.

  14. I think nervous breakdown is a little much. The republican rank and file is pretty much united in the desire to create a fortress America, at least on our southern border, and no pol who supports “amnesty” is going to win the republican nomination without some kind of sea-level change in attitude among the faithful. I do not see that happening anytime soon.

    The answer, not libertarianly pure, but possibly practical, would be to adopt a policy of “shall-issue” work permits for any and all who meet a basic criteria (no felonies, no ebola, etc.) and allow them to use time working, paying taxes, and staying out of trouble as credit for eventual citizenship. Also needed would be an all out assault on the regulatory state that does so much to retard the growth of the economy.

    Neither democrats or republicans will go for this idea, unfortunately, because they are not trying to improve anyone’s life or freedoms, but instead trying to use the issue to keep and gain political power. So I imagine that we are stuck with the current mess for the foreseeable future.

    1. Neither democrats or republicans will go for this idea, unfortunately, because they are not trying to improve anyone’s life or freedoms, but instead trying to use the issue to keep and gain political power.

      We have a winner!

  15. The moderate wing led by Arizona’s Sen. John McCain

    So McCain is in the right now?

  16. They can’t figure out a way to fund the DHS and defund Obama’s executive action

    Defund both.

    1. DHS is wonderful when it is cramming reason writers’ preferences dpwn the country’s throat.

  17. But that line is likely to stick only till the first news reports of border patrol agents unable to buy medicines for their sick children hit the stands.

    The Lack of Self-Awareness in this line is absolutely stunning. How can Reason call for spending cuts and say this?

  18. This crap is proof that talk radio runs conservative politics in this country and not the politicians. Politicians would have no incentive to contribute to the political death spiral of an increasing racist radicalization of their voter base. It can only be the case that Republicans are struggling to keep up with the preformed and regularly reinforced beliefs of those voters. Nothing could be an easier political call for the president than to bait them in such a fashion.

  19. Ooh, Ooh, Tony dead-thread Fucking. Necro alert.

    1. My mother-in-law is an immigrant from Nicaragua and against illegal immigration. Are you claiming that she is racist for her views?

      Opposing illegal immigration is no more racist than being against illegal parking, you partisan hack.

      1. This was meant for Tony.

    2. This criticism is, of course, always ironic.

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  21. How the hell can so many of you understand the tragedy of the commons and not grasp that the leftist immigration concept you endlessly expound could possibly apply?

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