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August 04, 2014 10:09 AM In the Middle of An August Friday Night

By Ed Kilgore

If you want to do something politically dangerous in Washington that you’d just as soon not draw widespread notice, doing it late on a Friday night before the August Congressional Recess begins is about as good as it gets. And that’s exactly what House Republicans did on Friday night, passing an insultingly small “border resources” package that will vanish without a trace if and when Congress returns and gets serious about the issue, and then passing another bill prohibiting continuation of the Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals program, which has enabled children and young adults (usually collectively known as DREAMers) under strict conditions to avoid deportations.

When I looked at the news aggregators this morning, there was zippo about this whole topic, which dominated political chatter last week. It’s as though quite literally nothing of interest happened Friday night.

But Greg Sargent noticed:

On Friday, House Republicans passed measures to address the border crisis that gutted protections for immigrants brought to this country illegally as children. This made it official: The border crisis has pushed the true GOP position on immigration out into the open, confirming Republicans have become the party of maximum deportations. Even the Wall Street Journal editorial board has now echoed this idea, castigating “Deportation Republicans.”

To grasp how fateful a step this was, you have to think back to the summer of 2012, when President Obama announced DACA in an action that was universally understood as a preemption of a pending GOP initiative being crafted by Sen. Marco Rubio for the relief not just of DREAMers, but of presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who was trying to find something to embrace to offset the “self-deportation” position he had embraced during the primary season. Had Obama not announced DACA, its substance would have probably become the dominant GOP position. Now House Republicans have officially moved far to the right of where they were the day before DACA was announced, and as Greg notes, well to the right of Romney ‘12.

But hey, it’s August, when, according to the ancient CW, nothing of importance happens in Washington, so anything that happens is deemed unimportant. Even if it’s accompanied by the sounds of the wheels falling off a supposedly critical Republican Latino outreach effort for the foreseeable future.

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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