Perversely, Republican Infighting May Have Helped Obama Get Immigration Reform Moving
Mar 4, 2015
Miami, FL (Law Firm Newswire) March 4, 2015 – Capitol Hill is constantly gripped by infighting over current policy, from Obamacare to immigration reform. But from an optimistic angle, Republicans’ obstructive defiance and confrontational attitude actually empowered Obama to partially achieve his reform goals.
Work permits have been extended, undocumented immigrants have been sheltered from deportation and high-tech visas have been expanded. Restrictions have been relaxed for highly educated, skilled foreign workers, and law enforcement officials have been ordered to focus on undocumented immigrants with histories of violence and/or criminal records.
“Recent history relating to immigration reform mostly speaks for itself,” pointed out Larry Rifkin, a Miami immigration lawyer and managing partner of Rifkin & Fox-Isicoff, P.A. “Obama was first elected in part on the basis of his immigration reform platform. But it went nowhere, thanks to political infighting, virtually forcing the president to issue an immigration action in November 2014. While incomplete in many ways, the action did address some of what he wanted the original bill to achieve.”
Many may not even be aware of how far President Obama’s work has gone, too focused on seeing a piecemeal president passing piecemeal reforms. Instead, what may be emerging is a hero of sorts: a president who kept going against all odds for the undocumented immigrants of America. Those who delayed, stalled and filibustered against him may be remembered in a less than charitable light.
Republican stall-and-fight tactics in the House have not been restricted to immigration reform. They are, front and center, the main reason Obama secretly negotiated a climate change agreement with China, committing the United States to reducing its greenhouse emissions by approximately 26 percent by 2025. These same tactics led the president to restore diplomatic relations and expand travel and trade opportunities with Cuba without Congressional input.
“Without the fractious House holding him up, he managed to get partway to where he wanted to be,” added Rifkin.
Republicans have clearly stated that they refuse to work with President Obama on anything, and their attitude has caused a great deal of damage. There is seemingly no reason to attempt to garner cooperation with Congressional Republicans when they do not want to work with him or with Congressional Democrats on any concern. This divisive stance had significantly widened since the recent election. It is obstructionism at its worst.
But for the general future, this relationship could create a dangerous precedent. A president who is unable to govern with a Congress that chooses not to cooperate could, in less well-meaning hands, someday create a presidency that can act at will, without legislative sanction. All efforts should focus on avoiding another situation from approaching such a point in future American politics.
“Given that President Obama has fought an uphill battle to get where he is today, without the help of a good portion of the House, he may well be regarded as a successful president — one who stuck to his guns and did what he felt was right in the face of vociferous obstructionism,” added Rifkin.
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