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August 13, 2013 4:49 PM Punish Obama, Pass His Top Legislative Priority

By Ed Kilgore

In his ever resourceful effort to find someone to convince conservative activists they shouldn’t turn their backs on him for his sponsorship of comprehensive immigration reform, Sen. Marco Rubio has now gone beyond arguments that CIR is good for the party, or that the failure to pass CIR will be bad for the border-militarizing priorities of his nativist critics. No, now passing Barack Obama’s top legislative priority is the only way to keep him from getting his way by executive fiat. Seriously. Here’s Greg Sargent’s account:

One year ago this week, President Obama announced that he would use his executive authority to halt the deportation of many undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children and have gone on to lead productive, law-abiding lives as residents of this country. The Post reports that the administration has granted over 400,000 temporary waivers to people in this category.
Now Senator Marco Rubio is seizing on this news to warn that the Obama administration may harbor secret intentions of granting citizenship in a similar manner — by executive authority — to all 11 million undocumented immigrants. Rubio notes that this is why Republicans should pass comprehensive reform. After all, if Obama is going to hand all of them amnesty for nothing, Republicans may as well force the president to hand over major concessions in border security in exchange.

Now it’s natural that Obama’s executive action on DREAMers would stick in his memory, since it was first announced when Rubio was messing around with developing his own DREAM proposal, which in turn was going to provide Mitt Romney with a path out of the hard-core corner into which he had painted himself on immigration policy during the Republican primaries.

The idea that Obama can or would just stop enforcing the immigration laws generally is a bit much to take. But then I suppose Rubio thought it might make sense to his right-wing critics, to the extent they’ve convinced themselves Obama’s a tyrant who routinely ignores the constitutional limitations on the authority of his office. But, says Sargent:

Alas, it doesn’t appear that this logic will prove persuasive to conservatives. Opponents of immigration reform are already dismissing Rubio’s suggestion. As Mark Krikorian tweeted mockingly: “Rubio: Surrendering to Obama on immigration will yield Peace in Our Time.” The willingness to believe the worst of Obama collided with hatred of amnesty, and hatred of amnesty won.

Maybe Rubio should threaten to force a government shutdown unless Obama accepts a legislative solution to the immigration problem. That’s the kind of language Marco’s critics understand.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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