Saying that the Republican establishment has had rough seas during the 2016 presidential nominating process would be a little like saying the Titanic had a difficult maiden voyage. This campaign has been nothing short of a smack-down for the people and the ideology that has ruled the party in recent decades. Central to this epic repudiation on the part of the party’s base has been the establishment’s inability, or outright refusal, to address the voters’ legitimate concerns about America’s immigration crisis.
Not surprisingly, two GOP candidates emerged who broke with their party’s position on immigration. Both have supported the idea that immigration policy must serve some identifiable public interest and that the American people, not the people who have broken our laws or party mega donors, are the primary constituency for U.S. immigration policy.
If any approach to any issue has been a common denominator between Cruz and Trump it has been immigration. And although American talk radio hosts have split their support more or less equally between the two candidates, concern about immigration is the common denominator among them. This begs the question of whether Trump can or will capitalize on that shared concern to bolster his support with former Cruz supporters among this needed electronic constituency.
I’ll find out along with dozens of talk radio hosts from around the nation when I once again attend the Hold Their Feet to the Fire (F2F) radio row, an annual immigration town hall on the airwaves in Washington, D.C., staged by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). On June 22, some 50 of us will broadcast live from Capitol Hill while we debate immigration issues with ordinary citizens and government leaders.
Is Trump coming? I really don’t know - all the candidates from both parties were invited - but since Trump started the conversation, it seems like a good idea for him to continue it at the event and potentially unify those of us who make a living unifying others.
I know why I’m coming. As the host of a daily talk radio program in the quintessential swing state of Florida, it has long been clear that the disruptive impact of our mindless and unenforced immigration policies is a source of great concern on the part of the people Republicans rely upon to win elections.
Day after day, I hear from people who have seen their jobs, their wages, their tax dollars, their children’s educations, and the safety of their communities sacrificed by immigration policies that arrogantly ignore their interests and concerns.
Significantly, this year’s event will coincide with the Supreme Court’s expected decision on United States v. Texas, the case brought by 26 state governors challenging the Obama administration’s attempt to grant de facto amnesty and work authorization to some 4.7 million illegal aliens simply by issuing a few policy memos.
Nothing better symbolizes the fecklessness of the Washington Republican establishment on immigration than this case. Despite unequivocal statements from just about every member of the Republican establishment that the president’s actions are unconstitutional, they have done nothing to prevent him from carrying out his executive actions. They did not challenge those actions in the courts, even though the Constitution gives Congress clear plenary authority over immigration policy. They did not block the president’s ability to use federal dollars to implement his policies, even though the power of the purse is Congress’s ultimate check on the Executive Branch. In short, the Republican establishment has done precious little to protect the American people’s interest in immigration policy and their base is rejecting them.
F2F 2016 will reinforce the clear message that is being delivered at the polls: It is the American people’s immigration policy. The American people must never be forced to make concessions to the people who break our laws, or business interests that want to undermine American workers, in order to get their government to merely promise to enforce our laws in the future.
Those are unifying ideas not just for political considerations, but for the future of the nation.