by Angela Guo
After President Obama’s announcement last week halting deportations for many young undocumented immigrants, the Republican response was notably muted. GOP House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) expressed frustration with the way the directive was enacted, but not the substance of the policy. Then Mitt Romney, the effective leader of the party, said the measure does not represent a “long-term solution.” Instead, he criticized the President’s directive only by indicating that it undermines Republican support for similar ideas.
However, when ThinkProgress called the offices of all House and Senate Republicans to discuss the policy, responses were clear: Almost every congressional Republican willing to give a statement opposed the President’s new initiative.
The only exception was Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18), a Cuban immigrant who previously voted for the DREAM Act.; she expressed her support for the policy. Reps Erik Paulsen (R-MN) and Lee Terry (R-NE) also said they would support a legislative initiative, but opposed the policy because of the way it was enacted.
A number of offices expressed that they were still evaluating the announcement or that they were unwilling to give a statement until the Romney campaign had articulated a clear stance.
The GOP’s suggestion that the directive prevents bipartisan reform seems to ignore the fact that their own party has been the main obstacle in any possible reform efforts. Republicans have repeatedly revolted against any comprehensive immigration plan, including the DREAM Act and its predecessors, dragging the proposals through partisan sludge just to end in near party-line votes. And Sen. Rubio’s DREAM Act alternative has failed to materialize after three months of hype.