Republicans are getting bent out of shape over President Obama’s executive order offer resident status to almost 5 million undocumented immigrants. As ABC’s Rick Klein notes, the move is really an attempt to force the GOP into action–any action. Pass a bill or overreact, but do something. We’ve waited long enough.

Immigration reform has been in and out of the headlines for almost a decade. George W. Bush came up with a common sense plan that would have allowed people who are already here to stay if they paid a fine and played by the rules. The Republicans in Congress, though, bowed to their base and killed it.

With his announcement last night, Obama delayed the substance of his order for six months, calling on the Republicans to pass a bill. The party just won control of Congress and they have the power and the votes to shape an immigration reform bill to their liking. Unfortunately, the only bill that works for their base is a massive, unrealistic deportation order.

Of course Republicans could shut down the government or impeach the president. That would show them.

The dirty little secret is that Republicans don’t want to govern when it comes to immigration. There’s little upshot for them in solving the problem. Anything that offers a path to citizenship or legal status riles their base. And their promise to secure the borders would require a huge government expenditure and an increased government bureaucracy. Not a good option for the party of smaller government.

Instead, the status quo works just fine. It gives their candidates something to rail about every election cycle and helps drive a wedge between the white working class and the Democrats. They’ve had little incentive to fix immigration.

Now, Obama’s given them one.


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