By Alex Gonzalez
President Obama is getting ready to roll out his new “executive” plan on Immigration; and this new “Obamalaw” will have major generational political implications, including the Presidency in 2016 and beyond. This new Obamalaw is an immigration confrontation with even greater stakes.
This new Obamalaw will have serious consequence because it will affect thousands of families, thousands of businesses in big Republican states like Texas; in essences, this new Obamalaw will overhaul parts of a broken Immigration System that has cleaved families and hobbled the economy.
Ronald Brownstein of the National Journal, as I have argued before, already is looked at the big picture and he too points out that Republicans will face a defining choice that will shape the party for years.
“Obama is moving toward a historic—and explosive—executive order that will provide legal status to a significant number of the estimated 11.7 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S… The president can’t provide them citizenship without action by Congress. But using the same theory of “deferred action” that he employed in 2012 for children brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents, he could apply prosecutorial discretion to allow some groups of the undocumented (such as adults here illegally with children who are U.S. citizens) to obtain work permits and function openly.
And this new executive Obamalaw will have a positive response within the Texas business community since, according to a report by Comptroller Susan Combs, in Texas 15 percent of the labor pool is undocumented. As a result, the Republican business class in Texas–the same class of business Republicans that has been fighting for a Texas Solution–will most likely welcome this new “executive” plan. This new executive law will bring thousands of businesses from “out of the shadows,” too.
In addition, there are already some “fissures” growing between the conservative business community and the GOP due to the failure in the GOP-controlled House to pass immigration. The conservative community believes the GOP is controlled by “extreme” anti-immigrant tea party wing that is creating an anti-business environment.
Moreover. According to CBO, An immigration bill passed in Senate will direct spending and revenues that would reduce budget deficits by $197 billion over the 2014-2023 period and by about $700 billion over the 2024-2033 period. Thus. Even if only 60-70 percent of undocumented immigrants legalized under the new executive plan. the nation will gain about $150 billion annually. And this is why businesses will support this new Obamalaw.
Politically, this legalization through executive order will stir major emotionally reactions among Latinos voters since the immigration issue already touches millions of American citizens, and this new Obamalaw will touch millions of citizens with family connections to undocumented relatives– espouses or parents.
For examples, as Time Magazines noted:
It’s hard to pin down how many people this would cover; it would depend on how the administration crafts the order. But the numbers are substantial. According to the CBO, there are an estimated 4.7 million undocumented parents with a minor child living in the U.S., and 3.8 million whose children are citizens. Around 1.5 million undocumented immigrants are married to a U.S. citizen or lawful resident, but have been unable to gain legal status themselves.
So there will be “explosive” implications from this legalization through executive order, both economic and political, to the roll out of this new Obamalaw in the coming weeks because what we are taking about, with only two subset– 6-7 million of undocumented immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizens, or married to a citizens–that could apply for temporary legal status. And so far that is what the White House is leaking out to the media.
Yet Republicans, thus far, seem oblivion to the rolling out of this new law. In fact, they are moving in the opposite direction with Ted Cruz becoming the main Hispanic Antagonista a la Steven King of Iowa or a la Tom Tancredo of Colorado suggestion that we should deport the so-called Dreamers.
For example, Ted Cruz is proposing in the U.S. Senate that Obama repeal DACA–deferred Action for Dreamer. And even though there is no desire in the U.S Senate among Republicans to debate this anti-Dreamer language, Republicans are letting Cruz own the “hard line” media message against “amnesty” for Dreamers, and eventually against the new group of people who will gain legal status under the new Obamalaw. And many Republicans will take the bait and overreact, increasing the perception of the GOP as hostile to Hispanics and minorities.
But, most Republicans think Cruz is going too far. Senators such as Marco Rubio and Flake are openly criticizing Cruz’s demand for anti-Dreamer language in the GOP response to the border crisis:
“Sen. Marco Rubio said while he agrees the Obama program, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, should be halted, he worried that ending it now could be “too disruptive.”
Moreover, Republicans in Congress like John Boehner and Paul Ryan know their failure to act on immigration reform could be disastrous for the GOP; but Ted Cruz does not care about how destructive this may be. His “hard line” rhetoric is all about linking Obama permissiveness on immigration policy with disorder and lawlessness and argue that deferred deportations for Dreamers is to blame for the current “humanitarian crisis” in Texas.
However, top GOPers still are letting Ted Cruz push his “hard line” anti-Dreamers message; and this is a self-distributive path for the party with Latino voters and Business Republicans. So Republicans, rather than preventing a disastrous campaign against Dreamers, are letting Cruz become the de-facto anti-Dreamer, which will only get worse after Obama rolls out his new Obamalaw.
But the GOP should be crafting a media plan to prevent that those tea partiers like Cruz, and their base, do not antagonize families and businesses that could benefits with the new Obamalaw. It will behoove Republican in big Hispanic states like Texas to have positive campaign like the ones proposed in the RNC Growth & Opportunity Project. Here is what RNC Growth & Opportunity Project Report on Hispanics last year:
If Hispanic Americans hear that the GOP doesn’t want them in the United States, they won’t pay attention to our next sentence. It doesn’t matter what we say about education, jobs or the economy; if Hispanics think that we do not want them here, they will close their ears to our policies. In essence, Hispanic voters tell us our Party’s position on immigration has become a litmus test, measuring whether we are meeting them with a welcome mat or a closed door- RNC Growth & Opportunity Project Report on Hispanics.
There will be a very clear choice for the conservative business community in Texas. Do they support an “executive” plan that they supported under the Texas Solution, or do they support Ted Cruz and an intransigent tea party movement that has taken an anti-anti-business mantra; and do Republicans in Texas and nationally take a moderate tone on the new executive Obamalaw, or do they engage in self-destructive agenda led by Ted Cruz?
Therefore, if Republicans within power structure of the RNC and the Republicans Party of Texas want to serious campaign on immigration to keep 40% of the Latino vote, it is not a good GOP strategy to permit tea partiers like Ted Cruz be spokesperson on immigration. Sure he has the right to do so and pretend he is protecting the Constitution, but his extreme views on immigration have to do more with becoming the de-facto tea party leader in a presidential race against Gov. Rick Perry, not with helping the Republican Party. Republicans ought to have a real plan, [positive] and business friendly, to counter this new Obamalaw, and to prevent “hot rhetoric” From Cruz, and tea party activists from dooming the future of the Party with Latino voters.
Sure, some conservative fantasists claim that the GOP can be a majority party merely by squeezing out an ever-larger share of the declining white share of the electorate. But this is just a fantasy that only tea partiers buy.
Yes, this is about politics and Obama knows that using his “executive pen” would infuriate Republicans and will energize tea partiers, and possibly will lead to an impeachment campaign (movement) by tea party base beyond the Control of the GOP. But, this impeachment campaign is precisely what Obama is expecting, as noted by Dan Pfeiffer on Friday, Obama’s chief policy adviser.
By attempting to de-legitimize DACA, and the new Obamalaw, Ted Cruz and his tea party base will be antagonizing millions of Hispanic families, and thereby, creating a greater generational rift between Hispanics and Republicans.
So Republicans better have a good message that is consistent with objectives of the Growth & Opportunity Project Report so they don’t have to alienate Latino voters and the business community. The new Obamalaw on immigration, as on other social issues such as gay rights and contraception, will shape the two parties for years with the largest demographic group in the nation in the southwest, home of 80 percent of Hispanic voters.Alex Gonzalez is a political Analyst and Political Director for Latinos Ready To Vote! He received a Bachelors Degree and a Masters’ Degree, with emphasis in American politics, from San Francisco State University. comments to firstname.lastname@example.org