A core House Republican leader who praised the release of a document outlining immigration policies, is already making excuses to prevent reform legislation from passing by the end of the year. On Sunday’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) said that passing any kind of immigration measures would be unlikely because of distrust in President Obama’s ability to enforce border security measures before immigrants are granted “amnesty.”
When questioned by Stephanopoulos on whether the President would have an immigration bill to sign at the end of the year, Ryan said, “I really don’t know the answer to that question. That is clearly in doubt. It depends on whether they’re willing to actually secure the border, actually have interior enforcement and not — and agree to not having an amnesty. If we can do that, where it’s security first, no amnesty, then we might be able to get somewhere.”
He added, ‘‘This isn’t a trust-but-verify, this is a verify-then-trust approach.”
Ryan has little reason to doubt Obama’s commitment based on his record. Statistics suggest Obama has been pretty willing thus far — nearly two million immigrants have been deported, “illegal entries are at a 40-year low,” there are more “boots on the ground” at the border than there have ever been in history, and the Senate bill would simultaneously secure the border and implement a biometric exit system that would track visa overstayers.
Although Republicans have divergent views on how best to deal with the undocumented population, at least two other key players in the immigration debate, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) have voiced similar sentiments to Ryan’s statement. During a conference call on Friday, Rep. Mario Diaz Balart (R-FL) said that there were concerns over whether “border and security provisions would be a reality.”
This isn’t the first time that Republicans have cited distrust in the President in order to stall on reform. In fact, it’s the latest in a line of excuses Republicans have claimed are responsible for their failure to pass immigration reform. In 2010, it was because Obamacare passed and that there’s an ongoing Mexican drug war. In 2012, it was because Obama used his executive order to give temporary work authorization and legal presence to non-criminal, undocumented youths. And in 2013, it was because of sequestration forced the Department of Homeland Security to release non-violent detainees, the Boston Marathon bomber was an immigrant, the Obamacare employer mandate was delayed, the Syrian intervention was taking too long, Obama refused to negotiate with Republicans during the shutdown, and healthcare.gov had technical difficulties.