Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
I am always amused by the media villagers and Beltway bloviators who blame President Obama for not having passed a comprehensive immigration reform law (as if he can waive a magic wand and simply make it happen). The media suffers from selective memory loss, often for partisan political reasons.
Comprehensive immigration reform was on the table in 2007 with a bipartisan bill, the "Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act of 2007," cosponsored by Senators Ted Kennedy and John McCain. It had the support of President George W. Bush who had run for office on a promise of comprehensive immigration reform.
The Kennedy-McCain bill was undermined and eventually defeated by far-right extremists in the Republican Party, most notably by Sen. McCain's own seatmate, Sen. Jon Kyl, and Texas Sen. John Cornyn. On June 28, 2007, the heavily amended bill failed to get the 60 votes necessary to end a GOP filibuster. The final cloture vote lost 46-53. This effectively ended its chances, and President Bush said he was disappointed at Congress's failure to act on the issue.
Since then, the conservative position on immigration reform has only hardened, bordering on nativism. John McCain when he ran for president in 2008 had to disown his own bill for comprehensive immigration reform and adopted extremist rhetoric: "Just build the danged fence!"
Today, comprehensive immigration reform cannot even get a committee hearing in the Tea-Publican controlled House or the "filibuster everything" Senate. Don't blame President Obama for this political environment. Opposition to comprehensive immigration reform comes almost exclusively from the conservative far-right.
For years now the Republican excuse for blocking any and all comprehensive immigration reform has been a single, vapid bumper sticker slogan: "Secure the border first." The border is now more secure than it has been in years. Now That Mexican Border is Secure, Will Republicans Stop Blocking Immigration Reform?
From Pew Hispanic Research, Net Migration from Mexico falls to zero and perhaps less:
The largest wave of immigration in history from a single country to the United States has come to a standstill. After four decades that brought 12 million current immigrants—more than half of whom came illegally—the net migration flow from Mexico to the United States has stopped—and may have reversed, according to a new analysis by the Pew Hispanic Center of multiple government data sets from both countries.
The standstill appears to be the result of many factors, including the weakened U.S. job and housing construction markets, heightened border enforcement, a rise in deportations, the growing dangers associated with illegal border crossings, the long-term decline in Mexico’s birth rates and changing economic conditions in Mexico.
And look at these numbers:
Apprehensions of Mexicans trying to cross the border illegally have plummeted by more than 70% in recent years, from more than 1 million in 2005 to 286,000 in 2011—a likely indication that fewer unauthorized immigrants are trying to cross. This decline has occurred at a time when funding in the U.S. for border enforcement—including more agents and more fencing—has risen sharply.
As apprehensions at the border have declined, deportations of unauthorized Mexican immigrants—some of them picked up at work or after being arrested for other criminal violations—have risen to record levels. In 2010, nearly 400,000 unauthorized immigrants—73% of them Mexicans—were deported by U.S. authorities.
So, where will the GOP move the goalposts now?
Steve Benen picks up the "moving the goal posts" question in When Mexican immigration drops to zero:
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), in his capacity as a leading surrogate for Mitt Romney, argued yesterday that the presumptive Republican nominee hasn't endorsed "self-deportation" as an immigration policy. Talking to reporters, McCain snapped, "Don't put words in his mouth."
The problem is that McCain doesn't know what he's talking about. Romney, just this year, explicitly endorsed "self-deportation." It's not a matter of opinion -- Romney said this on national television. It's on video.
McCain's comments, however, are part of a larger pattern: the truth about immigration policy and what Republicans say about immigration policy are usually quite different. The right claims, for example, that violence is rampant in U.S. border communities, though crime statistics show otherwise.
Conservatives also argue that the influx of immigrants from Mexico practically constitutes an invasion of the United States, which makes the latest research from the Pew Hispanic Center all the more interesting.
A four-decade tidal wave of Mexican immigration to the United States has receded, causing a historic shift in migration patterns as more Mexicans appear to be leaving the United States for Mexico than the other way around, according to a report from the Pew Hispanic Center.
It looks to be the first reversal in the trend since the Great Depression, and experts say that a declining Mexican birthrate and other factors may make it permanent.
The Pew Hispanic Center's report attributed the shift to a wide variety of factors, "including the weakened U.S. job and housing construction markets, heightened border enforcement, a rise in deportations, the growing dangers associated with illegal border crossings, the long-term decline in Mexico's birth rates and broader economic conditions in Mexico."
Will this cause the right to update its talking points? Probably not, but it should.
If you want a rational debate on comprehensive immigration reform, it first requires disempowering the extremist on the far-right and their extremist rhetoric, and focusing on the reality based facts.