Republicans howled in November when President Barack Obama used his executive powers to shield millions of illegal immigrants from deportation, accusing him of usurping Congress’ powers. Yet as the GOP lays out its agenda for the new Congress, Republicans have had nothing useful to say about addressing the problem of the 11 million immigrants who lack documentation.
Rather than fashioning a solution, Republicans remain in a protracted temper tantrum. In an attempt to punish the White House, they funded the Department of Homeland Security only through February. Threatening the department’s funding — and by extension, its 240,000 employees, a fifth of whom are Hispanic-Americans — is a terrible idea, politically and substantively.
At the same time, it is unlikely to derail Obama’s program to give temporary protection from deportation to 4 million or so immigrants, funding for which would be provided mainly by fees paid by the immigrants themselves. GOP congressional leaders, seeking to rebrand their party as one dedicated to accomplishment, have pledged quick action on energy and health care. Yet no one will fail to notice the party’s continued inaction on this critical problem.