In 2013, the Senate passed a sweeping overhaul of immigration law with bipartisan support. As Politico put it, “if Congress passes immigration reform, it would […] likely become [Obama’s] most significant policy achievement in his second term.” Unfortunately, the House was uninterested in passing the senate bill, with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) stating that, “the House is not going to take up and vote on whatever the Senate passes.” All well and good, especially since the House has been working on smaller pieces of legislature with the idea of having multiple specific bills to deal with issues. The move by Obama to halt deportation of the DREAMers — young undocumented immigrants — through an executive order has certainly caused some concern for House Republicans. In June 2013, they voted to halt the order that deferred DREAMer deportation.
As the Republican House leadership unveils their new principles on immigration reform at their policy retreat, Republicans are already offering reasons as to why there is no possible way anything will happen on immigration this year. Speaking on the matter of immigration, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) said to Politico that, “nobody, even those who want to get this done, trusts the president.” Which is unfortunate, given that the reactions from other Republicans to the new principles have not been good, and Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) has said that any votes are months away, if they do occur at all.
If ever there was a sign that Washington was broken, this is it. The administration is mistrusted by the opposition and seems to be looking for ways to circumvent the legislative branch. Though considered by some to be a radical move, the GOP is clearly paralyzed by their inability to marshal enough support in the wider conservative groups of the United States for their bills. The Republican response to the State of the Union address invited the president to “join us in a year of real action,” yet it seems that internal conflicts in their party will prevent them from acting in any way, with or without Obama. So here’s to the executive order. May it get something done.