Late Friday night the Tea Party-led House voted to strip immigration rights from more than a half-million DREAMers, young people who were brought to America as children by their parents and are in school or college.
After the Republican Party was trounced in the 2012 elections, even right wing extremists like Sean Hannity admitted the GOP had to work to fix the nation's broken immigration system -- and the GOP's broken relationship with Hispanics if they were ever going to win elections again.
Hannity told his listeners two days after the November election that kept Barack Obama in the White House and gave Mitt Romney a mere 27 percent of the Hispanic vote that he had not only "evolved," but that he now supported a "pathway to citizenship." That's further than even the DREAM Act went -- and the majority of Republicans opposed that.
Fast forward almost a year, to July 11 of 2013 -- one week after Independence Day.
"House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) are drafting legislation to provide a path to citizenship for immigrant children who were brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents, their offices said Thursday."
That stunning news was reported by the right-leaning news outlet, The Hill.
And now, fast forward to Friday night.
This vote will haunt the GOP for a generation. Saying let's deport the best and brightest of the Latino and immigrant community is suicide— Frank Sharry (@FrankSharry) August 2, 2014
"House Republicans voted on Friday to strip protections from undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers, putting more than a half-million young people at risk for deportation despite their longstanding ties to the United States," Elise Foley of the Huffington Post reports.
President Barack Obama called that bill "extreme and unworkable," and White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest had similarly harsh words for the measure to end DACA.
DACA is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an Obama memorandum that orders US immigration services and Border Patrol to practice discretion and limit deportation of undocumented immigrants who would be eligible for protection under the DREAM Act -- which Congress failed to pass.
"It is extraordinary that House Republicans are demanding that we reverse that prioritization as a price for getting the resources needed to deal with the urgent humanitarian situation at the border, reduce the immigration court backlog, and address the root cause of child migration," Earnest said in a statement Friday evening.
In short, the isolationist, anti-immigrant, anti-Hispanic Tea Party, led Friday night by Reps. Michele Bachmann and Steve King, and Senator Ted Cruz, engineered a takeover of Congress' attempt at an initial immigration fix, and turned it into an assault on 550,000 children and young adults -- sending many of them back to Honduras, the "murder capital of the world," and surrounding Central American countries.
Republicans cheered and clapped tonight on the House floor after winning the vote to deport Dream Act students.— Joaquin Castro (@JoaquinCastrotx) August 2, 2014
In "Congress, Unhinged on Immigration," late Friday night the New York Times' Editorial Board noted "there may be no two happier House Republicans than Steve King and Michele Bachmann, charter members of the 'hell no' caucus that resolutely blocks all efforts at sensible immigration reform."
Meanwhile, the border crisis is still a crisis and people are suffering. The Border Patrol and refugee programs will run short of money for aiding and processing traumatized children. Immigration courts will still be overloaded, due process will continue to be shortchanged or denied. Because House Republicans killed a comprehensive reform bill that passed the Senate more than a year ago, the larger immigration system, choked by obsolete laws, backlogs and bureaucratic breakdowns, still awaits repairs.
Eleven million people are still living outside the law with no way to legalize their status. Farmers and other business owners who depend on immigrant labor are still looking to Congress to bring order and efficiency to the system. They have been waiting for at least a decade. They will have to wait some more.
Congressional nihilism has created a vacuum. Now it’s President Obama’s job to fill it, to keep his promise to end the border crisis and find ways to redirect immigration enforcement and protect possibly millions of families from unjust deportation. Of course, regardless of what he does, the system will still be marked by chaos and pain. And the hard-liners will scream at any action he takes.
Having spent the summer howling about a catastrophe at the border, Republicans are now congratulating themselves for refusing to solve it.
As we wait, a charming reader email: "put the army on the border and kill anyone who tries to come back. I don’t care how old they are"— Elise Foley (@elisefoley) August 2, 2014
House Republicans just voted overwhelmingly to pass an evil racist anti-immigration bill that shuts down a path to citizenship for DREAMers.— Charles Johnson (@Green_Footballs) August 2, 2014
It will backfire on the GOP - badly. Latino voters and everyone who cares about humanitarian values aren't going to forget this day.— Charles Johnson (@Green_Footballs) August 2, 2014