Why Republicans Should Go Ahead and Panic About Obama Declaring More Immigration Amnesty

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 17 2013 4:57 PM

Why Republicans Should Go Ahead and Panic About Obama Declaring More Immigration Amnesty

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President Obama easily tires of waiting for Congress to act.

Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

The overall decline of Barack Obama's poll numbers has happened more quickly with certain demographic groups. The president stopped being popular among whites a very long time ago. He had plenty of ballast from Hispanic voters. But 2013 is ending without an immigration bill getting a vote in the House. One result of that is best seen here, in a triumphant tweet from a Republican strategist once tasked with the RNC's Hispanic outreach.

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So should conservatives start the party, celebrate the legislative smothering of the reform bill? No, that's a horrible idea. Francis Wilkinson explains why:

In his first term, Obama's administration deported a record 1.5 million undocumented immigrants... Here's what Republicans actually said in their 2012 party platform: "The current Administration’s approach to immigration has undermined the rule of law at every turn."
Obama surely concluded a while back that he was not going to get any credit for being tough on deportation. 

The Obama-era surge in deportations was generally understood, by progressives, to be a cynical table-setting move. Panic over mass illegal immigration would fall. Congress would become more amenable to immigration reform. The first part of the plan succeeded, and the second, so far, has failed. As soon as the president concludes that he can't get a bill through the House—and that could come this year, or after some 2014 election losses—does he look at the rest of his executive options? 

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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