As a conservative-libertarian, but one that is none too reactionary about the immigration issue - or “amnesty” as it is called in political shorthand - I take a rather nuanced view of FDR II's latest overreach. Like many Americans, I have little problem with the spirit of the President’s stated intent behind his fiat on Thursday, but rather other aspects of the executive action. Contrary to much of the loudest commentary, naturalizing millions of working class illegal immigrants with demonstrable family roots in the United States is not the existential threat to the republic it is being billed as. Rather, it is the dual faceted threat of progressively unconstrained executive power wielded by this President (some would claim intentionally wanton, and designed to draw Republicans off-sides) and the gobs of entitlements already foisted upon illegal immigrants and able bodied American citizens that makes this issue so precarious to our civic body.
Republicans must now react to the President – such was the rationale behind Obama’s gambit - and the measure of their modern party will be taken by a demographically shifting middle-America in just how they do. Think of it as a fighter putting an opponent back on their feet with a solid jab, Republicans are now suddenly on the hot seat, with America - sadly acclimated to executive overreach to the point of disinterest - closely watching them, not the President. A smart tack would be for the new Republican majorities to craft and pass legislation that deals with all of the now-cliched platitudes of “comprehensive” immigration reform – security first, path to citizenship, a nation of immigrants, look-busy-but-do-nothing - but with true welfare reform inextricably woven into the package. If people – born in America or otherwise – are looking for a nice comfortable dole in the Democrat welfare state, take that dole away. Return welfare and assistance programs to helping only those truly in need, and let the problem work itself out; who cares how many people come here if they have no choice but to come add productivity to America? I’d wager not many Americans would.
A tit-for-tat 2-year fencing match is exactly what President Obama is looking for in taking this provocative executive action, history has shown that he is only relevant when he is creating partisan firestorms that distract any true opposition to his policies away from coalescing. Republicans should refuse to play his game and instead get out the chess board. We'll see if they have it in them, but let's be frank here - this has been a checker playing party going back to 2006 and the dawn of the Age of Pelosi.