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Sidelining themselves on immigration reform

I don’t know what’s going to happen with the comprehensive immigration reform proposals that are out there now. It’s long overdue, and the political stars all seem to be aligned for it, but we said the same things about health care reform back in 2009, and look how close that came to be scuppered. In any even, the one place we should not expect to see any leadership on the issue is the Texas delegation.

Texas Republican senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz were not enthusiastic about the [bipartisan Senate] proposal.

Cornyn will review the Senate plan, but first and foremost, a focus must be placed on the “porous border,” said his spokeswoman Megan Mitchell.

“I appreciate the good work that senators in both parties have put into trying to fix our broken immigration system,” Cruz said in a statement. “There are some good elements in this proposal, especially increasing the resources and manpower to secure our border and also improving and streamlining legal immigration. However, I have deep concerns with the proposed path to citizenship. ”

Immigrant rights groups are watching Cornyn and Cruz, who oppose citizenship proposals, to see how their positions play politically in Texas.

“How the Texas Senate duo handles immigration in the coming debate will set the course for the future of the GOP” in the state, said Frank Sharry, executive director of the pro-immigrant advocacy group, America’s Voice.

Well, then, all you GOP immigration realists had better pucker up, because Cornyn and Cruz are on the more restrained end of the spectrum right now. You’ve still got the likes of Lamar Smith and Steve Stockman to cope with, and we haven’t even heard from Louie Gohmert yet, God help us all. If this was supposed to be your moment to take the initiative, you blew it.

“The congressional Republicans from Texas sidelined themselves with their anti-immigrant campaign rhetoric, which has no place in a fast-moving debate in which suddenly the debate has shifted to ‘how much citizenship,’” said Democratic consultant Harold Cook of Austin. “The result is a shameful outcome in which these members of Congress, representing a state with tremendous border real estate, have sidelined themselves completely. That’s not leadership, and it’s not even adequate representation. It’s just ideologues telling far-right voters what they want to hear, at the expense of mainstream Texans.”

Some Republican strategists say that the GOP must find a way to play a constructive role in the ongoing debate — or suffer the consequences at the polls for years to come.

“Comprehensive immigration reform is going to happen this year and Republicans should embrace it and work to improve it,” said Republican consultant Matt Mackowiak. “At stake is re-branding the Republican Party with Hispanics, an absolutely critical and urgent task, especially so in border states like Texas.”

[...]

Mackowiak predicted that the Senate will “ultimately pass a bill with 80 votes, putting pressure on the House to pass a similar measure.” He suggested a way that Texas House Republicans can finesse their aversion to anything remotely sounding like amnesty.

“You can make the case that granting a temporary legal status to those here illegally, while they pass a background check and pay a fine and back taxes until those in line legally are processed first, does not qualify as amnesty,” he said.

Denial is your friend here. This shouldn’t be too difficult for the average GOP member of Congress to pull off – just imagine that we’re talking about climate change or something similar. Bone up on the Rove memo, I’m sure that’ll help. And good luck dealing with your primary voters. BOR has more.

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