One of the most shocking turnarounds since the election is the GOP’s embrace of immigration reform. Suddenly, everyone from John Boehner to John McCain to Sean Hannity wants to become Latinos new BFFs.
Contradicting everything he’s ever said on the subject, House Speaker Boehner now says that “a comprehensive approach is long overdue.” Well, duh! And why would that be? Two years ago, the same Boehner blocked any attempt to even discuss the issue in the House. “There is not a chance that immigration is going to move to the Congress,” he said. In addition to which, he voted against the Dream Act, which would have given young people legal status, squashed Rep. Marco Rubio’s attempt to initiate a conservative version of the Dream Act, and then wanted to amend the 14th Amendment so that children born on U.S. soil to undocumented parents would no longer be given citizenship.
Yeah, I’m sure the Latino community is ready to hug the guy back.
Conservative talk show host Sean Hannity proclaimed on Thursday that he has ‘evolved’ on the issue. “If people are here, law-abiding, participating for years, their kids are born here, you know, first secure the border, then pathway to citizenship, done,” he said on Thursday. Say wh-a-a-t?
Even John McCain weighed in on Twitter regarding the subject. McCain, who was for immigration before he was against – it in order to run for president in 2008 – tweeted ”I agree with the calls for comprehensive immigration reform.”
This all makes sense when you look at the numbers. Latinos now make up 10% of voters and 70% of them voted for President Obama. One of candidate Mitt Romney’s biggest missteps was when he pledged to repeal the two-year grace period that Obama gave young Latinos last June. He also committed himself to vetoing the Dream Act and pressuring the undocumented to ‘self-deport’ by making life miserable for them.
How quickly the worm has turned. Good luck with that! There’s a lot of history to overcome, plus Congressional Republicans are pushing back against their leader. Rep. John Fleming of Louisiana said:
“I’m urging the speaker to talk with House Republicans before making pledges on the national news. The first thing we need is for President Obama to finally enforce current immigration law and strengthen our borders. To take up any other agenda is bad policy for the American people and bad politics for Republicans.”
Whoops! Looks like Boehner won’t be handing Latinos half a friendship necklace as soon as he thinks. It seems his party believed him when he said, in 2010:
“If people want to become citizens, they need to do it the right way. Go home, sign up, get in line like everybody else. Our schools, our hospitals, are being overrun by illegal immigrants.”
Guess he’s hoping that Latinos don’t have memories as long as the conservative members of the GOP.