It never ceases to amaze me how the Republican Party manages to fumble the political football. They barely managed to retake the House in a midterm cycle that was projected to be a red wave due to the failing economy and rising inflation, but the GOP botched the gameplan, which will be an ongoing debate—one that will most certainly not be settled when the 2022 autopsy is released next year. Republicans have already played with fire assisting Democrats with their latest anti-gun package.
I’m not a staunch social conservative, but you can arguably say that the recent repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act didn’t earn any dividends with GOP base voters. So, what do Republicans want to do now in the lame-duck session? Pass a grand bargain on immigration that could lead to millions of illegal aliens being put on a pathway to citizenship.
The deal was hashed out between Sens. Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). There is no funding to complete the border wall—that would make sense. Still, it will permit some two million recipients of Obama’s unconstitutional Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to get on the citizenship track. The buried portion of this provision is that once these two million are through the process, they can sponsor extended family members so that two million-figure could be closer to seven million, and I’m being conservative in that estimate. The framework for this deal leaked today (via WaPo):
A white paper laying out this Tillis-Sinema blueprint is circulating on Capitol Hill, congressional aides and advocates plugged into the talks tell me. Though the details are in flux, here’s a partial list of the major items it contains:
Some form of path to citizenship for 2 million dreamers.
A large boost in resources to speed up the processing of asylum seekers, including new processing centers and more asylum officers and judges.
More resources to expedite the removal of migrants who don’t qualify for asylum.
A continuation of the Title 42 covid-health-rule restriction on migrants applying for asylum, until the new processing centers are operational, with the aim of a one-year cutoff.
More funding for border officers.
The idea behind this compromise is this: It gives Democrats protections for 2 million dreamers and beefed up defenses of the due process rights of some migrants. It gives Republicans faster removal of migrants who fail to qualify for asylum to prevent them from remaining in the country, a continued restriction on applications for the next year and more border security.
If 10 GOP senators could support this, they’d be drawn from those who are retiring (Sens. Roy Blunt of Missouri and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania) or those willing to challenge the Trump wing of the party (Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska).
The overall legislation is quite atrocious, as with anything with the ‘bipartisan’ label. Still, this specification could be fatal for some Republicans, leaving themselves vulnerable to primary challenges. And rightfully so.
Do Republicans even have the votes to pass a package like this that will infuriate the conservative base? Was that even part of their strategic thinking when drafting this bill? I think you can answer that question.
As with any immigration deal, Democrats will insist on amnesty and a pathway to citizenship, which should kill any deal. Accelerating the deportation process of those who fail to qualify for protected status/asylum is a periphery issue if the citizenship provision permits a backdoor for millions more to flood into the country, which also renders moot the part about more funding for border patrol officers. The GOP has to realize this is a deal for suckers.