As I imagine you already know, President Obama plans to legalize the status of up to 800,000 undocumented young immigrants who came here as children, bypassing a Congress that can't manage to act on the issue:
Under the administration plan, illegal immigrants will be immune from deportation if they were brought to the United States before they turned 16 and are younger than 30, have been in the country for at least five continuous years, have no criminal history, graduated from a U.S. high school or earned a GED, or served in the military. They also can apply for a work permit that will be good for two years with no limits on how many times it can be renewed.In analyzing the issue, Greg Sargent manages a remarkable combination of astuteness and naivete in one paragraph. I'll highlight the astonishingly naive part:
The policy will not lead toward citizenship but will remove the threat of deportation and grant the ability to work legally, leaving eligible immigrants able to remain in the United States for extended periods. It tracks closely to a proposal offered by Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida as an alternative to the DREAM Act.
The question now is whether Republicans will be able to support the new initiative at all, now that Obama has put his name on it. Republicans will likely try to take credit for it by arguing that Rubio's work on the DREAM alternative made this happen. But it was already unclear whether Republicans -- Romney included -- would have the room to back such an alternative, given the GOP base's passions on the issue. So what many Republicans will likely do now is object to the new initiative on the basis of process, arguing that Obama's end run around Congress represents tyranny and the like.Republicans will try to take credit for this? The hell they will. Who's been on board with this up to now? Rubio himself? He's Hispanic -- the right-wing acceptance of affinity-group carve-outs gives him a pass for supporting immigration reform, just as it allows, say, John McCain to be against torture, because it's seen as a matter of self-interest. How many others? In most of the country, woe betide any Republican who'd support immigration reform without being seen as self-interested. (Jeb Bush gets a pass because he has a Hispanic wife.)
Otherwise, Greg is basically on the money. Republicans who might have given tepid support to Rubio will move right because this is Obama's plan. And, yes, all the talk from the right will be about process. Already, much of the winger commentary is about tyranny. Allen West, on Fox:
"I think right now, this shows that we are getting away from a government that's based upon consent of the American people, and we're starting to live under a rule by edict or executive order," West charged.RedState:
Obama Seeks to Nullify our Immigration LawsAnd on and on.
The making of a constitutional crisis
What Greg goes on to say -- that Romney will now be forced to declare a choice between a hard line on immigration and the Rubio approach -- is not true at all, at least not immediately. This won't force his hand. I think Romney and every other right-winger in America who's trying to maintain a tiny bit of wiggle room on immigration is just going to mumble platitudes about being for a "common-sense" approach to the issue (but no "amnesty"!), and then talk TYRANNY TYRANNY TYRANNY about the way this proposal was put forth. You ask Romney or a surrogate about the merits of the proposal, you'll hear TYRANNY in response. That and "pandering." The right's going to work to make the mainstream press report this as a story about Obama, not about immigration. The goal right now is to avoid putting Romney on the spot about the issue, or the proposal, and to make it all about whether Obama is just being a fascist and a panderer and a guy who wants to divide us by groups. By a week from now, with the press's cooperation, most of us won't even quite recall Romney's opinion of the proposal itself.
AND: Oh, yeah, this too:
Rep. Allen West Alleges New Obama Policy On DREAMers Is Voter Fraud Conspiracy For 2012 Election