Perhaps the most idiotic response to President Obama’s historic executive orders halting the deportation of up to five million undocumented immigrants, but surely the most telling, came via numbskull congress creature Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, who predicted the newly protected immigrants would become “illiterate” Democratic voters.
“The social cost will be profound on the U.S. taxpayer — millions of unskilled, illiterate, foreign nationals coming into the United States who can’t speak the English language,” the Washington Post quoted Bachmann. “Even though the president says they won’t be able to vote, we all know that many, in all likelihood, will vote.”
Not only is this racist and just plain stupid – Obama’s executive orders can’t, unfortunately, create a pathway to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants – it also revealed exactly what Republican elders never wanted spoken: the real reason the GOP opposes citizenizing immigrants.
Beyond all the posturing, the bottom line is they’re afraid all those tired and poor Latinos yearning to be free will become Democratic voters. Gee, wonder why they would do that.
What Reform? Another ignorant response, masquerading as deep concern for Democracy, is the assertion that by executing his orders Obama has killed any chance for comprehensive immigration reform in Congress. What chance?
House Speaker John Boehner could have called for a vote on the compromise, bipartisan, comprehensive bill that passed the Senate. It would have passed the House on a bipartisan vote. But Boehner was and is deathly afraid of the Bachmanns in his House who are dead set against even a pathway to legality (forget citizenship) for undocumented immigrants because – please make a note here – large numbers of Republican members of Congress have no interest in ever voting for immigration reform.
Why? Because they have no Latinos in their districts, or so few that they don’t matter. Yes, Republicans who care about winning governorships, Senate races and the presidency understand that the GOP has a problem with Latino voters. But Congress members in gerrymandered seats don’t give a rat’s backside about whether Latinos vote for them and, in fact, are incentivized to kowtow to nativistic, xenophobic and racist voters to want to round ‘em all up and send ‘em home.
California is different. Calbuzz has frequently argued that the Republican label is deadly for statewide candidates as long as the California GOP opposes a pathway to citizenship – an issue supported by vast majorities of California, and nearly all Latino, voters. But we’re grateful to Josh Richman and David Early of the Bay Area News Group for recounting anew how it was 20 years ago this month that then-Gov. Pete Wilson pushed through Proposition 187 – attempting to gut immigrant rights until it was thrown out by the courts – and severed all future potential ties between the GOP and Latino voters in California.
California Dreamin’ So we suspect that Obama’s executive orders will be widely welcomed in California, where, the LA Times reported:
According to a recent report by USC, roughly half of the estimated 2.6 million California residents who are in the country without permission have been in the state at least 10 years. A study by the Pew Research Center found that California has the second-highest proportion of K-12 students with at least one parent who lacks legal status, after Nevada.
“It’s likely those U.S.-born children are going to be the key to whatever protections are offered,” said demographer Jeff Passel, who co-wrote the Pew report. “Because California has such a high percentage of those children, it’s probably going to have a higher percentage of unauthorized immigrants who would qualify for relief.”
Most California voters, we suspect, will find irrelevant the Republican screeching about Obama “abrogating the Constitution” or whatever inane argument is being conveniently whipped up to object to the president acting when Congress is gridlocked.
And if they bother to look a bit deeper, they’ll find that the Constitutional Argument is just a case of phony situational ethics. As Dhrumil Mehta reported at FiveThirtyEight, “For decades, executive orders have been a fairly common tool for U.S. presidents.”
In fact, Obama has issued the fewest number of executive orders per year of any president since Grover Cleveland and fewer than Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush and George W Bush — none of whom were accused by their Republican colleagues in Congress of subverting the Constitution.
A New Civil War? Of further note is the argument that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco made – that Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves was, in fact, an executive order. Most Republicans would defend it today; not all of them, probably.
The Republican Party has a problem here: those concerned with statewide and national politics don’t want to further alienate Latino voters who are becoming an increasingly powerful force in large-scale elections. But in the US House of Representatives, where members are elected in individual (drawn-to-order) districts, anti-immigrant rhetoric and blood lust is at a fever pitch.
It’s fairly clear that the voices of reason in the GOP are being drowned out by the screaming Neatherthals.
Bottom Line: Barack Obama has delivered the Latino vote to Hillary Clinton in 2016.