Fox 31’s Eli Stokols has the rundown on today’s Congressional immigration battles, and Republican Rep. Mike “Major Confusion” Coffman is picking up kudos after a handful of conflicting votes and mismatched public statements:
[Coffman] voted against the amendment that seeks to end the Deferred Action program and the final bill, which included the amendment.
“The President’s executive actions are clearly unconstitutional and I strongly oppose his unilateral decisions on immigration but my party needs to stop just saying what we are against and start saying what we are for when it comes to fixing our broken immigration system,” said Coffman in a statement.“Under the DACA amendment that passed, young people who were taken to this country as children, who grew up here, went to school here, and often know of no other country but the United States, would not be allowed to renew their status and would face deportation. We should have had an opportunity to pass a version of the DACA program into law. Moving forward, immigration reform should be about securing our borders, growing our economy and keeping families together and we need to do it all the constitutional way – through Congress.”
Immigration policy is confusing enough without Coffman's help, so stay with us here – this is about to get silly.
Congressman Coffman is a former U.S. Marine. If you’ve spent any time around Colorado politics, you are almost certainly aware of this; Coffman never misses an opportunity to mention his military career and call upon related clichés such as “boots on the ground.” We do not have a negative word to say about Rep. Coffman’s service record. To borrow a phrase from Democrat Andrew Romanoff, Coffman’s General Election opponent in 2014, Rep. Coffman’s military career should be applauded and respected.
His rank as a citizen lawmaker perhaps should be adjusted, however, to include the title “Major Confusion,” because that seems to be Coffman’s strategy when it comes to dealing with the issue of immigration.
While nothing ever actually happens on immigration reform, “Major Confusion” always makes sure to take credit for specific immigration votes while at the same time making sure to so obfuscate his position that it seems like he’s always on your side on the issue (Coffman even issued a statement in Spanish today about how he totally supports DREAMers). This is a pretty clever political tactic, actually, even if it is completely meaningless.
Take a look at this blog entry from Aurora Sentinel editor Dave Perry, who is consistently one of the most understandable and understanding journalists in Colorado, and you’ll see what we mean about the strategy of “Major Confusion.”
Coffman, a Republican, voted against a broad bill what seeks to undo the ability of illegal immigrants brought here as children to find a permanent home in the United States.
Good for you, Congressman. It was an impressive and important move. The vote was nothing but a flagrant political slap to President Barack Obama as retribution for seeking administrative ways to solve immigration problems. But it passed, 236-191 because other Republicans don’t have the temerity and good sense Coffman showed.
If you’re going to slap Coffman on the back here, it’s important to draw the distinction between being a “vote maker” and a “law maker.” Congress is in the business of making laws – or as House Speaker John Boehner routinely crows, not making laws. “Major Confusion” Coffman did indeed cast several votes today on immigration reform, but the votes were contradictory and his actions did absolutely nothing to contribute to “making laws” on immigration. Coffman split his votes on various controversial amendments, which is the real-world equivalent of flipping a coin and calling both “heads” and “tails.”
A press release issued by Colorado immigrant rights and Latino advocacy groups had a different perspective on what took place on Capitol Hil today:
Today, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a DHS funding bill, which included a collection of the harshest anti-immigrant amendments seen in years. The bill would not only overturn the sensible executive actions from last November, but also end the DACA program for DREAMers and maximize the deportation of all 11 million undocumented immigrants settled in America.
While Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) voted against final passage of the bill and an amendment to end the 2012 DACA program, he lined up with his party on a critical amendment that tainted and defined the entire bill. The Aderholt amendment, which Coffman supported, would block the President from expanding DACA to others who came to this country at a very young age. The amendment also prevents the Department of Homeland Security from allowing individuals who have lived in the U.S. for years, raising children who are U.S. citizens, to come forward and apply for temporary immigration papers…
…Immigration reform champion and Coffman ally, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), characterized the GOP votes this week, saying “Only three words describe the Republican approach to immigrants: deportation, deportation, deportation. The ‘deport them all’ contingent in the Republican Party has the pen and the gavel in the House. I know the Republicans will stop at nothing, but I didn’t think they would start with everything.”
"Representative Coffman may think that his split vote puts him in a moderate position, but voting to keep DACAmented youth while, at the same time, voting to deport everyone else is a bad political statement,” said Carla Castedo, Mi Familia Vota Education Fund- Colorado State Director. “This is a full-blown assault on immigrants and lays down the marker for the anti-immigrant, ‘self-deportation’ legislative agenda of the new Republican-controlled Congress.”
Obviously there remains plenty of disagreement about how to move forward on immigration reform efforts. We’re not going to say that Coffman is wrong in his votes and statements today, because we don’t want to confuse the bigger point: obfuscation is Coffman’s immigration platform. Or, as Patty Kupfer of America’s Voice explained, “Today, Mike Coffman voted on an amendment to end the President’s executive action and released a statement saying he ‘strongly opposes’ it.”
If you disagree with everything you just read, we have one simple request: Explain Coffman’s position on immigration reform and what he actually proposes to do about the issue.
Really. Go ahead…we’ll wait…
…No luck, eh? That’s the idea. Remember, this is the same Mike Coffman who said throughout 2014 that he did not support a comprehensive immigration reform measure. Oddly enough, “Major Confusion” penned an Op-Ed that appeared in the Denver Post in July 2013 in which he declared, “The time for comprehensive immigration reform is now.” Less than a year later, “comprehensive” was systematically scrubbed from Coffman’s biographical materials as though it were a dirty word.
There’s really no reason that “Major Confusion” can’t just lay out an immigration policy that is both consistent and logical. Coffman has made definitive calls in Congress before (such as demanding the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki in the wake of various VA scandals last summer), but that is clearly not the strategy when it comes to immigration reform.
Make some votes. Say some things. Feign concern when nothing actually happens. If you can think of a better way to sum up Coffman’s immigration positions, we’d love to hear it.