Today, at a speech at American University, President Obama reiterated his support for comprehensive immigration reform. He said:
The question now is whether we will have the courage and the political will to pass a [comprehensive immigration ] bill through Congress, to finally get it done.
The Democratic Leadership in Congress has stated its support as well, as has a vast majority of Americans. According to a recent poll sponsored by America's Voice Education Fund, and conducted by Lake Research Partners and Public Opinion Strategies, 78 percent of all voters support comprehensive immigration reform. The controversy over Arizona's decision to usurp federal power and implement racial profiling as a solution to our immigration crisis would seem to have put this issue and America's frustration with lack of action from Washington on the front burner.
Problem? There is a huge stumbling block and it's called the Republican Party. Instead of even attempting to find common ground or proposing a solution, they've resorted to vilifying immigrants and fabricating stories to incite Americans' insecurities. Former advocates of comprehensive immigration reform have turned their back on what they once hailed as a practical solution. Sen. Lindsey Graham, gone. Sen. John McCain, gone. Sen. Jon Kyl, gone. Why? To even novice political observers, the answers are apparent. Threatened by a wave of racist tea party pressure, they've chosen to side with the racists over immigrants despite polling that shows the vast majority of Americans want Congress to fix this broken system. Specifically, it would seem Kyl and Graham are protecting McCain, who is facing a rabid anti-immigration nut, disgraced former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, in the Arizona Republican primary.
To be clear, Republican obstructionism isn't limited to the issue of immigration. Across the board, the GOP has chosen to put politics before the interests of their nation. Quite simply, they would rather do political damage to President Obama than work on solving America's problems. They've denied the unemployed access to jobs and assistance, they've tried to block Americans from access to quality affordable health insurance, they've sided with the millionaires of Wall Street over working Americans in the financial reform fight, and they are standing with BP rather than helping address our critical energy security and environment crisis. It's little wonder then that they are willing to demagogue and sacrifice immigrants for the sake of perceived political expediency.
If you think my words are too strong, than consider some of vile comments and completely off-base hysterical statements from Republicans:
Arizona Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, apparently buoyed by enacting SB1070, a law that begs for racial profiling, made a whopper of a statement saying that most undocumented immigrants are drug mules, a claim even the conservative National Border Patrol Council called unfounded. Days later, in an attempt to give credence to her claim that Arizona is suffering from out-of-control border violence, Brewer claimed local law enforcement officers had found several beheaded bodies in the dessert, but medical examiners who investigate all suspicious deaths said they hadn't seen not even one such case.
The author of Arizona's SB 1070 law is state Sen. Russell Pearce. Pearce is a well known white supremacist and has other racist ties that have been profiled by Southern Poverty Law Center.
Sen. McCain, in a quest to appear hawkish on border security and immigration, has set aside his integrity and honesty in a misguided attempt to appeal to extremists. He's not only is engaging in purely fictional fear mongering (FBI statistics show crime at an all-time low in Arizona and undocumented immigration at historic lows as well), but by identifying himself as "one of us," his advertisement is clearly engaging in despicable race baiting.
The President's speech makes clear where his administration stands. Now it is a time for Republicans to either stand with Americans who want a practical solution to our broken immigration system or continue down the road of un-American obstructionism and open flirtation with racist extremism.
If you'd like to join the call for Republicans to work with the President on immigration please call (866) 563-5608.