Commentary by Kay B. Day
Republicans in the US House of Representatives passed a bill to fund the Dept. of Homeland Security, even increasing some funding. By now, if you’re not living in the wild without access to news, you know Democrats in the Senate refuse to even debate the bill.
Why the repeated filibusters?
The official reason is that the House bill does not include funding for President Barack Obama’s sweeping unilateral action on immigration. The president basically rewrote immigration law via a DHS memorandum. Don’t buy into leftist bloggers’ meme that other presidents have done what Obama is doing. They have not, and I explained that in a previous article.
The president set up this political battle. He knew this would happen and he upended his own statements because he said repeatedly in public it would be illegal for him to do what he has now done.
I think the real reason for Democrats’ filibuster is purely political. Both parties want to lay claim to the role of immigration reformer extraordinaire. What no politico mentions is that the breakdown in our system involves two factors—the absence of border security (both physical and intangible as relates to lack of visa oversight) and a glut that has existed for many years.
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), majority leader, has an option, and even the progressive-friendly website Politico admits it:
“McConnell could employ the ‘nuclear option’ to abolish the filibuster on legislation, allowing Republicans to pass the $39.7 billion DHS bill with a simple majority of 51 votes, rather than 60. But that would mean destroying the Senate traditions he’s vowed so loudly over the years to protect — and Obama would still veto the bill.”
McConnell should show some backbone and employ that nuclear option, a standard for the Democrats’ former leader while that party controlled the Senate. The senator can do that easily because Democrats are basing their obstruction on insisting that funds be directed to a program a federal judge has halted. In one sense, that would be misappropriation of federal funds.
McConnell can use Reid’s own words to justify the nuke action.
The DHS funding bill would then pass, placing Obama in the position of choosing to veto a bill funding homeland security. Should the president do that, he would be coopting national security for politics. That would be a serious violation of his constitutional oath.
Congress has not been able to get an immigration bill through since 2007 when GOP President George W. Bush tried very hard to do that. Democrats and Republicans rejected the bill when Dems had control of the Senate.
Various countries south of the US border have pushed Obama to implement amnesty, and that makes sense because those countries’ economies are increasingly dependent on US dollars sent home by workers. Those monies are apart from US taxpayer funded federal aid to the countries.
There is no good reason to hold up the House bill Democrats refuse to even debate. These Dems don’t want to go on record to defend an illicit executive memorandum. A president cannot write and pass a bill all by himself.
Making the whole controversy even more worrisome, the Obama administration has even given a pass to criminal aliens. Sen. Chuck Grassley published a lengthy list of violations.
Will criminals come to your neighborhood? Time will tell.
Journalist Sharyl Attkisson wrote, “Last August, it was revealed that more than 600 convicted criminals, including felons, were among thousands of illegal immigrants freed under the Obama administration…”
McConnell has a solution. He should take it immediately. To do otherwise is to drag out an argument that is based on an illegal action. If McConnell does use the Democrat Reid’s nuclear option, the Republican senator’s reputation would improve and so would the reputation of his party.
Furthermore, if the president vetoes a Senate-passed bill, he will hand Republicans an immeasurable gift for 2016 elections because he will have branded his party as an obstruction to national security in favor of politics.
It would also be a good idea for Republicans to note Obama isn’t about to deport a majority of DREAMers. He hasn’t done that yet and he won’t do it in the future. No president will, regardless of party.
Obama knows that, but he uses the threat of deportation—a totally incorrect term anyway—to establish himself as a protector of a population he has stereotyped to a point where it is an insult to those he claims to want to protect.
Once DHS funding is approved, the House can take up a bill to reform the immigration bureaucracy and tackle it from a standpoint of where workers are truly needed. DREAMers can be addressed in a separate bill as they should be because they are a unique population. A good place to start with DREAMers would be an orderly registration process with a bill stipulating a reasonable window for compliance and an official freeze on deportations for legitimate DREAMers.
Border security, both physical and intangible, should be the starting point for any bill. That is and has been the holdup to reforming the federal bureaucracy dealing with foreign nationals whether they are aspiring immigrants or criminals.
Featured Image: Snip from Sen. Mitch McConnell’s web page explaining why a federal judge blocked the president’s illicit action on amnesty.
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Feb. 23, 2015)
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