Wednesday, April 16, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Immigration’s house of mirrors

navarrette column sig

By
From page A7 | February 06, 2014 | Leave Comment

SAN DIEGO — When the topic is immigration reform, Republicans can be counted on to infuriate.

Before heading for an annual retreat for congressional Republicans, House Speaker John Boehner told reporters that this is the moment to tackle immigration.

“This problem’s been around for at least the last 15 years. It’s been turned into a political football, I think it’s unfair. So I think it’s time to deal with it,” said Boehner. “But how we deal with it is critically important.”

So how did Boehner deal with it? For the most part, badly.

First, the immigration problem has been around for a lot longer than 15 years. It’s been 28 years since President Ronald Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act, the last piece of comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

How did the figure “15 years” get stuck in Boehner’s head? What was happening 14 or 15 years ago? Answer: The 2000 Census, which showed that Hispanics accounted for 12.5 percent of the U.S. population. Today, that number is nearly 17 percent. Those changing demographics sparked the modern immigration debate. Boehner unwittingly admitted as much.

Next, at the GOP retreat, Boehner released a list of the six main “standards” that should guide Republicans on reforming the immigration system. More than half are off the mark or half-baked.

In the preamble, there is the absurd claim that immigration laws “are not being enforced.”

Really? With President Obama and the Department of Homeland Security on track to have deported 3.5 million people by the time Obama leaves office, how much more enforcement would Boehner and other Republicans like? Unless, of course, their goal is to remove every single illegal immigrant from the United States – all 11 million – and anything less than that signals a lack of resolve. If so, good luck reaching that goal.

Also, Republicans declare that border security and interior enforcement must come first.

This is right-wing boilerplate. You hear it from those talk-radio hosts who are passionate about an issue they don’t understand. It’s worth the amount of thought they put into it, which is not much. For one thing, we’ll never be able to seal off a 2,000-mile border that goes over mountains, deserts, rivers and private property. We could wait for years for the border to be declared fully secure, with our immigration system continuing to deteriorate all the while.

Besides, Republican leaders don’t appear to have considered the research by U.S.-Mexico border experts such as Douglas Massey, a professor at Princeton. Massey notes that the walls and fences we’ve built on the border in the past 20 years have made it more difficult for undocumented immigrants in the United States to return to Mexico even for a visit because they’re afraid that it will be too difficult to re-enter. So they stay put on this side of the border, where they start families and put down roots.

Finally, some good news. As for what we should do with illegal immigrants who are already here, the Republicans hit the sweet spot by offering what the undocumented really want (legal status) without bothering with what many of them don’t care about (citizenship).

For so-called “dreamers” – young people brought here by their parents – Republicans do even better by offering a path to legal residence and citizenship if they join the military or get a college degree. Sound familiar? It’s the DREAM Act that the majority of Republicans voted against in 2010. Now the GOP leaders are on board.

Or are they? In the house of mirrors known as the immigration debate, things are rarely what they seem. Several right-wing news sites have reported that, according to what rank-and-file Republicans say about what went on at the retreat, Boehner did not appear to be committed to pushing an immigration bill this year. He certainly wasn’t trying to sell one. It sounds like – despite what he is telling the media – he is agnostic on the subject. Not good.

Perhaps this is all just political theater, an attempt by House Republican leaders to fool people and brush off the immigration issue before the midterm elections. This would be disappointing but not surprising.

Republicans have, with a helping hand from the other side of the aisle, made quite a mess of the immigration debate. It could be that they’re not done yet.

Ruben Navarrette is a columnist for U-T San Diego. Reach him at ruben@rubennavarrette.com.

Ruben Navarrette

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
Supervisor candidates file conflict-of-interest forms

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1

 
Vacaville set to usher in new chapter for Police Department

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Solano Jews gather for start of Passover

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Suisun council debates train depot renovation

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

 
 
Trial begins for teacher accused of abusing children

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3

Suisun police ID shooting victim

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

 
County discusses consolidated dispatch

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

Miner Slough Bridge to see repairs

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

 
Easter hunt set for Mare Island

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5

 
‘Heaven is for Real’ opens Wednesday

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B5

 
 
Fiesta Days pageant organizers seek contestants

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

Coakley joins Solano fair board

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A6

 
Crews make quick work of vehicle fire

By Glen Faison | From Page: A6, 6 Comments | Gallery

 
Paper Clover Campaign supports Solano County 4-H

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6

 
Hundreds flock to Krispy Kreme as it opens doors

By Susan Winlow | From Page: B9 | Gallery

 
County to honor Solano educators

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A14

.

US / World

Officials: Huge San Francisco blaze was accidental

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
‘Shrimp Boy’ pleads not guilty in corruption case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Solemn tributes mark Boston Marathon bombing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Immigration activists urge Obama to act boldly

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

First women move into Army platoon artillery jobs

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Final deadline arrives for health exchange sign-up

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

New LA newspaper embraces print in digital world

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Congress is giving states the transportation blues

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Police: Suspects in killings wore GPS devices

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14, 1 Comment

 
DNA alternative to Pap smear sparks medical debate

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Robot sub returns to water after 1st try cut short

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Supremacist faces murder charges in Kansas deaths

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Ukraine: Military secures airport from attack

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Democrats have outside money advantage – for now

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Hamas praises deadly West Bank shooting

By The Associated Press | From Page: A15

 
2 dead after ferry sinks off SKorean coast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A15

.

Opinion

Oh, for the days of Dr. Welby

By Dan K. Thomasson | From Page: A13, 11 Comments

 
Poor Judgement in Flight 370 column

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A13

 
Senseless babble that hurts

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A13

Expand Red Top Road

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A13

 
Editorial cartoons for April 16, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A13

State Senate must do more to restore trust

By Thomas Elias | From Page: A13

 
.

Living

Today in History for April 16, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: April 16, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

What love gives you

By Barton Goldsmith | From Page: A2

 
Saving carrots from their usual sugary Easter fate

By Sara Moulton | From Page: B6

Sweet pairings for grown-up Easter treats

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
A matzo ball soup fit for a weeknight dinner

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

My husband still pays his 45-year-old unemployed son’s bills

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B7

 
Horoscopes for April 16, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

Boston Globe wins Pulitzer for bombing coverage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Lindsay Lohan’s mom pleads guilty to DWI in NY

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Strahan’s ‘GMA’ side job confirmed with his visit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

.

Sports

Cal hires Tennessee’s Cuonzo Martin as coach

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Warriors trying to move on without Andrew Bogut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Sharks’ Torres uncertain for playoff opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Indians shut out Mustangs

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Ex-Minnesota State, Mankato coach returning to job

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Panthers jump Sabres to win NHL draft lottery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

More former players sue NHL regarding concussions

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
49ers sign WR Brandon Lloyd to 1-year deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

MLB marks 67th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s debut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Business

Twitter buys data analytics partner Gnip

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Yellen signals more aggressive stance toward banks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

.

Obituaries

Carolyn McClelland

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Evonne Medina

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7