Yesterday, former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough on his MSNBC show gave Democrats good advice. Don’t give in on DACA. Make the Republicans offer a clean bill on the program or let the government shutdown.
He’s right. Now is not the time for Democrats to compromise. Republicans have control of both houses of Congress and the White House. It’s their responsibility to govern and if they need Democrats to help, then Democrats should get something substantial in return.
Back in October, 2013, Republicans shut down government in an effort to defund Obamacare. In the wake of the shutdown, pundits and polls called the move devastating to the GOP which, at the time, only controlled the House of Representatives. A little over twelve months later, the GOP won in a landslide and took over the US Senate.
This time, the DACA program has broad support. Few people outside of the GOP’s populist base believe we should be deporting people who were brought here as children and have built careers and families in the United States. Democrats can demand that Republicans take a compassionate approach to immigration or figure out how to keep the government running by themselves. The American people will side with the Democrats.
The story of a 39 year old husband and father of two whose parents brought him here when he was nine years old circulated around social media. He was deported to Mexico from Detroit on MLK, Jr. Day. Stories like these will abound and give ammunition to a Democratic rallying immigration advocates at election time.
Republicans have repeatedly failed to reform immigration policies. They scuttled a plan put forth by George W. Bush back in 2005 and have sunk compromise proposals ever since. Now, it’s time for Democrats to hold firm and reject anything that does not offer the DREAMers a path to citizenship. They’re not likely to get hurt politically or electorally and they can drive the wedge further between the GOP and minority communities.
The immigration problem also highlights the GOP’s struggles to govern. The only significant bill they’ve passed is tax reform. They’ve failed to repeal Obamacare and now they’re failing to fix immigration. Mitch McConnell taught them to be the party of “No” but can’t bring them together enough to actually drive an agenda. Shutting down the government will just bring more attention to their ineffectiveness as a governing party and their willingness to break up families to satisfy their base.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >