January 25, 2015

Priebus and Wasserman Schultz mislead on immigration, but Dems have political edge

One of the most bipartisan aspects of immigration reform is the inability of the Republican and Democratic leaders to talk honestly about it.

Simply look at how Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and his Democratic counterpart, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, handled the issue last week.

Rather than provide hard facts, they reverted to the political parties’ default position: Recrimination for political point-scoring. The problem for Republicans, though, is the issue benefits Democrats more in presidential election years.

More here

January 21, 2015

GOP's Reince Priebus stumbles on immigration, Democrats crow: "WTF?"

 @MarcACaputo

The different Republican State of the Union responses about immigration (nada in English, un poquito en Español) was so tough for national GOP Chairman Reince Priebus to explain Wednesday that he tried to blame.....President Obama.

What about the Republican-controlled House that blocked the measure from a full vote in the chamber for years? Priebus didn’t go there.

“I’m not a policy guy,” Priebus said at one point after stammering on MSNBC to give a response.

The Democratic National Committee loved it, and almost mockingly swore at Priebus by asking in a press release headline: "Reince, WTF are you talking about?" By using the "What The Fuck" text abbreviation, the DNC ensured that Republicans could avoid the topic by pointing to the snarky crudity of the Democrats’ take-down rather than the substance of it.

But as Priebus' response to the original question shows, there's not much of a major credible response anyway. That left Priebus blame-shifting and evading questions asked by the Huffington Post's Sam Stein and ABC's Cokie Roberts on "Morning Joe:" 

Continue reading "GOP's Reince Priebus stumbles on immigration, Democrats crow: "WTF?"" »

December 14, 2014

President Obama's role in the far-left's immigration blowback

@MarcACaputo

If President Obama were Dr. Frankenstein, the far left’s immigration-reform movement is starting to resemble a monster he can't control.

It haunted Obama last week during an interview with Jorge Ramos, the Fusion/Univision pundit who’s an immigration-reform crusader.

Rather than praise Obama for unilaterally sparing as many as 5 million illegal immigrants from deportations, Ramos’ reaction was more like: Why so little so late? Here’s an edited transcript of the exchange:

Ramos: “You always had the legal authority to stop deportations, then why did you deport 2 million people? ... For six years you did it.”

Obama: “No. Listen, Jorge…”

Ramos: “You destroyed many families. They called you deporter-in-chief.”

Obama: “You called me deporter-in-chief.”

Continue reading "President Obama's role in the far-left's immigration blowback" »

December 05, 2014

Pam Bondi makes FL 18th state to sue President Obama over immigration action

@MarcACaputo

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced late Friday that the Sunshine State would join a federal lawsuit to block President Barack Obama’s executive action sparing as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation.

Of the 18 states now suing the Obama administration over immigration, all have Republican governors or Republican attorneys general. But Florida is the only major swing state with a significant Hispanic population, making Bondi’s decision a potential presidential campaign issue as the 2016 election cycle gets underway.

In a written statement, Bondi said the lawsuit isn’t about politics, it’s about Obama circumventing Congress and acting alone.

“This lawsuit is not about immigration, rather this lawsuit is about President Obama — yet again — overstepping the power granted to him by our United States Constitution,” Bondi said echoing the language of the suit initiated this week by Texas Attorney General and Governor-elect Greg Abbott.

“We need to fix our system of immigration,” Bondi said, “but willfully turning a blind eye to the inconvenience of law and rule is not the path to a remedy, but a prescription for unwarranted presidential overreach.”

But Democrats say Bondi is leading Republicans into a problem with Hispanics that has vexed them in recent presidential elections and threatens to do so again. Republican Gov. Rick Scott has stayed out of the fray and referred questions to Bondi's office.

More here

November 23, 2014

Obama sets immigration 'trap,' GOP get snared, irked

@MarcACaput

Scott Walker berated the reporters for “obsessing” about immigration.

“You have fallen into the trap the president of the United States has done,” the Wisconsin governor snapped at the Republican Governors Association’s conclave in Boca Raton last week.

The ire of Walker and his fellow Republicans over the issue was a sign they were already ensnared by President Barack Obama’s “trap”: an executive action sparing as many as 4.1 million illegal immigrants from deportation.

Obama’s Thursday decision effectively injected the immigration issue into the 2016 presidential campaign. Now, whoever wins the White House in two years will have to decide whether to scuttle the president’s plan, potentially estranging Hispanic voters, the fastest-growing demographic group.

From going it alone to quoting scripture to focusing on a policy that has tripped up Republicans for years, Obama’s announcement seemed designed to troll the GOP.

The announcement overshadowed the conference, at which the RGA wanted to showcase Republicans’ gains. Instead, the Republicans — six of whom are weighing presidential bids — wound up responding to question after question about Obama’s plans. They criticized Obama for overreach, and for not dealing with the issue when he had a Democratic House and Senate under him.

But they offered no alternatives. Walker suggested it wasn’t a big deal.

Column here

November 19, 2014

South Florida Dems to Obama: Venezuelans should be part of executive action on immigration

@PatriciaMazzei

Two South Florida Democratic members of Congress have penned a letter to President Obama asking him to specifically include Venezuelans in his planned executive action on immigration.

U.S. Reps. Joe Garcia of Miami and Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston, the Democratic National Committee chairwoman, wrote in the letter Tuesday that Obama should provide "administrative relief protections for thousands of Venezuelans who have fled Venezuela and are fearful of returning."

"Political and economic conditions in Venezuela have been declining for years, but now the Venezuelan people are facing a government that would rather repress and demonize its own citizens than engage in dialogue to address the serious problems facing the country," they said.

Any action could apply to Venezuelans who arrived in the U.S. before December 2011, the cutoff date for the Senate immigration-reform bill yet to be taken up by the House of Representatives, the letter says. Or Obama could authorize "delayed enforced departure," a protection similar to the one granted to people with Temporary Protected Status, or TPS.

"Their inclusion in administrative relief falls in line with the purpose of such action which should be to provide relief from deportation to those who have established lives and families in the U.S. and whose deportations would rip apart communities."

South Florida is home to the largest number of Venezuelans outside of the South American country -- including a large contingent in Wasserman Schultz's hometown, which is known as Westonzuela. Garcia, who lost reelection earlier this month to Republican Carlos Curbelo, has filed legislation to give Venezuelans special immigration status, but it has gone nowhere.

October 22, 2014

'We've got to get our votes out,' Rick Scott tells Republicans in Doral

@PatriciaMazzei

Florida Gov. Rick Scott's campaign bus rolled Wednesday morning into Doral, the Hispanic-dominated industrial center of Miami-Dade that also houses the county's elections headquarters. The bus parked across the street at an Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza restaurant, where Scott and running mate Carlos Lopez-Cantera touted the governor's Tuesday night debate performance.

"Charlie Crist, I could not believe what he said last night," Lopez-Cantera said. "He admitted that he was no good at being governor."

The Republicans also stressed the GOP's lead in the number of early ballots cast so far.

"We're doing unbelievably on absentee ballots," Scott said. "Historically, Republicans didn't get out in early voting… We've got to get our votes out."

Lopez-Cantera said he was overwhelmed with emotion when he cast his ballot Monday, because when he started in politics, he told former Gov. Jeb Bush that he'd never be on a statewide ballot "because I have a hyphenated last name."

"My eyes watered" at the ballot booth, Lopez-Cantera said, choking back tears. "I just wish my grandfather was here today to see this."

Scott fielded a few questions from reporters but, like in the debate, wouldn't say whether he supports a pathway to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally.

"Everything will be on the table" with comprehensive reform, Scott said. "But you don't do things piecemeal. Things shouldn't be left to the states, to have to decide on these things."

Scott unsuccessfully backed an Arizona-style crackdown bill in 2011.

Before hopping back on the bus, Doral police officers stopped traffic on Northwest 87th Avenue to allow Scott to cross the street to the elections department, where his supporters had the option to vote.

August 21, 2014

DNC chair Wasserman Schultz bucks lame-duck Obama on deporting unaccompanied minors

@MarcACaputo

It's August, and in Washington Democratic insider circles that usually means some anonymous person from Obama World would have something nasty to say about Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Weston's congresswoman.

But the third time wasn't the charm.

And last night it looked like Wasserman Schultz was ready to put some daylight between her and President Obama over a most-sensitive topic: the unaccompanied minors who flooded the border.

Here's Politico:

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz also thinks deporting children detained at the border is sending them back to “certain death.”

The White House went apoplectic last month when likely 2016 presidential candidate Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley said, “We are not a country that should turn children away and send them back to certain death.” Tuesday night, Wasserman Schultz said twice — strongly — that she thinks O’Malley was right.

“As you know, Gov. O’Malley said that to send them back would be to send them to certain death. Do you agree with him?” Fusion’s Jorge Ramos asked in an interview.

“Not only do I agree with him, but,” the Florida congresswoman said, launching into a long story about a boy she’d met during a visit to a facility in Miami who told her of being kidnapped and forced into the drug trade, and showed her a bullet wound through the back of his arm.....

“That was the first she was hearing about Martin O’Malley,” said Wasserman Schultz’s congressional office communications director Sean Bartlett. “She was reacting to Jorge’s question and thinking about the tour she had just come from.”

Putting aside the potential political calculus of courting Hispanics or firing up liberals or simply saying something heartfel, maybe it's just a coincidence that Wasserman Schultz happened to say this now.

But regardless, the lame-duckness of President Obama is looking lamer and lamer.

August 01, 2014

On House floor, Joe Garcia calls Ted Cruz's immigration moves 'un-American'

@PatriciaMazzei

Congressman Joe Garcia, a Miami Democrat, gave an impassioned speech on the U.S. House of Representatives floor Friday lambasting Republicans -- and specifically Senator Ted Cruz of Texas -- for failing to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

Garcia didn't mention Cruz by name. But he railed against "a fellow Cuban American that sits in the other house" for "dictating to this house that we should strip away rights -- strip away rights from children."

"It's un-American," Garcia said, to applause inside the chambers.

The House extended its session to try to pass a child immigration bill before its summer recess. A day earlier, House Republicans met with Cruz, a conservative tea-party favorite, who said the legislation didn't go far enough.

 

July 30, 2014

Marco Rubio votes to move Senate border bill, but vows to oppose it without new reforms

From a press release:

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today issued the following statement regarding his vote to debate the Senate border bill:

“Today, I voted to move to the Senate border bill so that we would have the opportunity to vote on and pass amendments that would achieve real reforms on border security, end the DACA program for new applicants and reform the 2008 law that allows unaccompanied minors who enter the U.S. illegally to be released.

“If these types of reforms are not included in the bill, I will vote to deny the Democrats the 60 votes they will need to pass this bill. Furthermore, as I have previously stated, I will oppose any efforts to add the 2013 Senate bill or the DREAM Act to this legislation. This legislation needs to address the current humanitarian crisis on our southern border, and prevent any future mass migrations.”