Last night Pres. Obama unveiled his executive order to defer the deportations of 4.4 million undocumented residents, allow spouses of green-card holders to apply for legal status, make it easier for foreign entrepreneurs to get visas and more.
Today, predictably, Republicans are in full lather trying to shift public attention away from the fact that they have no alternative plan for immigration reform — and, worse, that for a year and a half House Republicans have been sitting on the immigration bill — Senate bill S. 744, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill — that passed the Senate with bipartisan votes in June 2013.
Instead of proposing an alternative to the president’s order, the GOP strategy is to focus public attention on the process — Obama’s executive action — by claiming, falsely, that the order is illegal. In fact, presidents Reagan and George H. W. Bush also signed executive orders deferring deportations, and Republican presidents Eisenhower, Ford and George W. Bush also made unilateral changes to immigration procedures through executive orders.
The Republican leadership is making a calculation that by ginning up rage at the president over the order, they can avoid having to take a substantive position on immigration, even if the derangement they foment drives their racist base to violence and anarchy, as Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn and others have predicted.