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February 08, 2024 02:46 PM UTC

Republicans Don't Want Immigration Reform Because Then There Would be Immigration Reform

  • by: Colorado Pols

Immigration at America’s southern border is one of the most pressing issues of the 2024 election cycle. During last month’s 9-candidate debate for the Republican nomination in CO-04, every single candidate said that fixing our immigration problem was the single most important issue in that race.

Republicans have demanded legislation to deal with the border. They have lambasted President Biden for not doing more. They even tried to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over the issue.

But at the end of the day, Republicans would rather have the immigration issue as a political football than do anything to solve the problem.

As The Associated Press reported on Thursday afternoon:

The broken US. Congress failed in stunning fashion this week as Republicans in both the House and the Senate revolted in new and unimaginable ways against their own agenda. Lawmakers will try to do it all over again — as soon as next week…

…Just 48 hours put on display a spectacular level of dysfunction even for a Congress that has already set new standards for infighting, disruption and chaos after last year’s historic election, then ouster, of the Republican House Speaker, Kevin McCarthy.

It shows how deeply the Republican Party, under Speaker Mike Johnson and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, is by choice or by force, turning away from its traditional role as a working partner in the U.S.’s two-party system to a new one that is rooted in Donald Trump’s vision of the GOP.

In dramatic back-to-back scenes this week — a closed-door shouting match of Senate Republicans testing McConnell’s slipping hold on power late Monday and Speaker Johnson presiding glumly over failures in the chamber he could not control Tuesday — provided new entries for the history books. [Pols emphasis]

In the Senate, McConnell faced a separate revolt over the border security package he had reluctantly agreed to pursue as a way to appease hard-right demands to link national security aid for Ukraine to an almost politically impossible compromise on immigration.

As soon as the bipartisan package was unveiled it encountered fierce blowback from fellow Republicans led by Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, and others, forcing McConnell into an abrupt about-face to abandon the effort.

Senate Republicans killed the bill they had worked for months to craft largely (maybe even solely) because Donald Trump told them to do it. As Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) told NBC News:

“This is the most outrageous thing that I have been a part of in my 16 years in Congress. Within a couple of hours are releasing available they all ran for the hills. … We’ve learned that Trump is fully and completely in charge of the party, and they are rudderless otherwise.” 

Even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell seemed stumped. From a separate NBC News story:

“I followed the instructions of my conference who were insisting that we tackle this in October. It’s actually our side that wanted to tackle the border issue. We started it,” McConnell said. “Things have changed over the last four months.” His office declined to comment further. [Pols emphasis]

Speaking to Shannon Bream of Fox News on Sunday, Republican Sen. Jim Lankford of Oklahoma was less cagey:

BREAM: Why give [Biden] this in an election year?…He [would get] to take a victory lap saying he got something done [on immigration].

LANKFORD: It is interesting. Republicans four months ago would not give funding for Ukraine, for Israel, and for our southern border because we demanded changes in policy. So we actually locked arms in this and said, ‘We’re not going to give you money for this. We want a change in law.’ So now, it’s interesting, a few months later when we’re getting near the end, it’s ‘Oh, just kidding, I actually don’t want a change in law because it’s a Presidential election year.’ [Pols emphasis] We all have an oath to the Constitution, and we have a commitment to say we’re going to do whatever we can to be able to secure the border. 

The immigration issue has become so blatantly political that the likes of Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) are now arguing that Congress should not even try to solve the problem and “let the voters decide” by proxy in making their choice for President in 2024.

We say it all the time in this space that Republicans really aren’t interested in governing. Sometimes they say it so plainly that it’s impossible to ignore. For voters in 2024, hopefully it’s also difficult to forget.


4 thoughts on “Republicans Don’t Want Immigration Reform Because Then There Would be Immigration Reform

  1. Maybe an unpopular opinion – I don't think this madness helps Biden. I think he has conceded the narrative that immigration is (a) bad and (b) out of control. I also think his blaming Trump just makes it look like Trump is the one that could have got this done. While that's not great for our country, that does make it look like Trump is needed to get immigration fixed, especially with the concessions to the right wing narrative.

    1. ‘blaming Trump just makes it look like Trump is the one that could have got this done…. that does make it look like Trump is needed to get immigration fixed’

         Only if we let that be the narrative. If we shed light on the behind the scenes pressuring and, frankly, blackmailing, performed by Combover Caligula, it will become readily apparent that he is not the solution to anything, but rather the ham handed tyrant that he actually is. Significantly less politically palatable.

      1. The problem is that most people in this country have the attention span of a gnat. How else do you explain this:

        More voters are rating Trump's presidency as 'better than expected' in hindsight (

        Nostalgia for the good old days when people were dropping like flies from COVID the China Virus Hoax.

        If Trump was so effective, why were people pouring into this country across the southern border when he was president up until he was able to use Title 42 during the pandemic. And when was his big and beautiful wall completed. And when did Mexico finish paying for it.

        People in this country are basically stupid which is why I question the wisdom in encouraging more and more uninformed, low-information (f/k/a stupid and ignorant) people to register and vote.

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