Mitch McConnell: No Immigration Reform While Obama Is President

The Senate Majority Leader says there will be no immigration reform while Obama is President. This is unlikely to help the GOP's already serious problems with Latino voters.

Border of US And Mexico

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that there will be no immigration bill while Barack Obama is President:

President Barack Obama won’t get to sign an immigration bill, per Senate Majority LeaderMitch McConnell, R-Ky.

“Not in this Congress,” McConnell said when asked about the prospects for immigration legislation.

“I think when the president took the action he did after the 2014 election he pretty much made it impossible for us to go forward with immigration reform this Congress. The concern that we expressed on this was validated: he is currently under a court order with what he decided to do.”

This news is hardly surprising, of course. While the Senate passed an immigration reform bill in 2013 when it was still under control of the Democrats on a somewhat bipartisan vote, Republicans have given no indication at all that they are interested in pursuing the idea. After that Senate bill was passed, it was essentially declared Dead On Arrival in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. Notwithstanding pressure from Republican business groups such as the Chamber of Commerce, evangelical groups, and many in the Republican Party itself who were calling on House Republicans to put together a bill of their own, the efforts by a small group of House Republicans to come with a counter to the Senate’s bill ended up falling apart spectacularly. At that point, it was clear that the call of the GOP base for resistance to anything that resembled “amnesty” and an insistence on some amorphous idea of “border security” was more important to House Republicans than anything else. Once Republicans took control of the Senate, things hardly got better. Almost immediately after the elections, President Obama told Congress that if they didn’t act on immigration reform, he would undertake whatever action he could using his executive powers. As I noted at the time, the threat was politically unrealistic to the extent that Obama expected a lame duck Congress to deal with an issue as controversial as immigration reform, and potentially would only serve to poison the well if he actually went forward with his threat. Of course, the President did exactly what he had threatened and, in addition to several lawsuits challenging the Constitutionality of his actions, there has been no sign of action by the GOP on this issue and, based on McConnell’s statement, no chance that anything will happen. While it’s true that Republican complaints about the President’s policies would ring less hollow if they had an immigration policy of their own, it’s also manifestly true that President Obama’s threats and executive action utterly failed to prompt Congress to act and likely guaranteed that there would be no such action before he leaves office.

While the reaction of the Republicans in Congress may be predictable and even understandable, it still carries with it some tremendous political risks as we head into the 2016 election season. Already, the GOP is finding itself having to deal with the controversies surrounding the vitriolic rhetoric of Donald Trump when it comes to immigration and Latinos, and of course we saw in 2012 that Mitt Romney received the smallest portion of the Latino vote of any Republican Presidential candidate in recent memory. While this led several Republicans such as Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio to call on the party to be more inclusive and to put forward its own ideas regarding immigration reform, those calls have largely fallen on deaf ears. Rubio, for example, was once the darling of the Tea Party movement only to see his star fall significantly after he became part of the bipartisan group that created the 2013 Senate immigration bill. Since then, the Florida Senator has tried fight his way back by shifting his focus to foreign policy and largely repudiating much of what he was advocating during the immigration debate in the Senate. Now, we have the Majority Leader of the Senate saying that immigration reform is dead until the next President is in office. This can’t possibly be good for Republican fortunes with Latino voters, and that will be just one more problem that the eventual Republican nominee will have to deal with next fall.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Borders and Immigration, Campaign 2016, Congress, Politicians, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. PJ says:

    Mitch McConnell’s current top priority is to only make Obama a two term President.

  2. Rafer Janders says:

    Uh huh. And it’s OBAMA who’s “needlessly confrontational”…..

  3. Jonathan says:

    So…1) Republicans won’t pass reform, 2)Obama acts, 3)Because of 2 go back to 1?

  4. David M says:

    “We don’t like Obama’s action plan on immigration, so we aren’t going to pass something to replace it” makes no f*cking sense. Absolutely none.

  5. Tillman says:

    Vaguely resembles how the Iranians hated Carter so much, they wouldn’t release the hostages until he was out of office.

  6. Ron Beasley says:

    More and more all the time I see the Republicans as a bunch of political suicide bombers.

  7. stonetools says:

    Obama sure can pick some great enemies. Great for him…

    The Democratic nominee’s ads to Latinos for the 2016 presidential campaign should just be a video of that statement. The Democrats may crack 80 per cent of the Latino vote in 2016 elections.

    While it’s true that Republican complaints about the President’s policies would ring less hollow if they had an immigration policy of their own, it’s also manifestly true that President Obama’s threats and executive action utterly failed to prompt Congress to act and likely guaranteed that there would be no such action before he leaves office.

    So this is Obama’s fault? Really, Doug? You need to stop spending time withthe Hot Air crowd. They’re rubbing off on you.

  8. C. Clavin says:

    OT…but the Republicans who want to arm everyone and turn the US into the wild west with shoot-outs on every corner…are not allowing weapons into tonight’s debate venue.
    The hypocrisy is awe-inspiring.

  9. michael reynolds says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Obviously the answer is more guns. Each of the candidates should be given a choice of firearms.

  10. michael reynolds says:

    @stonetools:

    Doug’s inability to understand let alone admit the motives of his preferred political party is amazing. Seven years in and he still thinks Obama can work with the mental patients. It has to be deliberate, no one can really be that clueless, can they?

  11. David M says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Mental patients makes it seem like they’ve acknowledged the problem and are seeking help. I’ve seen no evidence of that from the GOP.

  12. Scott F. says:

    @Jonathan:

    I think it actually goes like this: 1) Republicans won’t pass reform, 2) Obama acts, 3) Republicans declare immigration reform is impossible with Obama as President and further alienate Latinos to the GOP, 4) Latinos help elect another Democrat as President, 5) Republicans declare immigration reform is impossible while this Democrat is President and further alienate Latinos to the GOP, then 4 and 5 repeat.

  13. gVOR08 says:

    Doug, I wouldn’t worry too much about McConnell’s statement hurting Rs with Latinos. I think that was pretty much already at the Zero Lower Bound.

  14. CB says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    Whoa, whoa, easy on the rhetoric.

    I’d say they’re more political kamikazes.

  15. T says:

    Why should he even come up with a plan when these clowns get rewarded by their constituents for not doing their fucking jobs. Political grandstanding and obstructionism counts for policy in the GOP.

    Meanwhile in the real world, there is a very real and very large humanitarian problem in central america.

  16. David M says:

    @T:

    Meanwhile in the real world, there is a very real and very large humanitarian problem in central america.

    Tax cuts and bombs can fix anything.

  17. grumpy realist says:

    @CB: But even political kamikazis have an idea they’re working towards.

    Here, it just seems like playing to the populist unwashed and giving them whatever they want.

  18. grumpy realist says:

    OT: well, it looks like the State of Maine Supreme Court slapped the face of the Governor a few times….

    In other words, if you want to carry out a pocket veto, make sure you know what you’re supposed to do.

  19. Deserttrek says:

    @michael reynolds: you anger and bigotry is outstandingly pathetic as usual … ever try the mental health facilities in your area?

  20. stonetools says:

    @T:

    Why should he even come up with a plan when these clowns get rewarded by their constituents for not doing their fucking jobs. Political grandstanding and obstructionism counts for policy in the GOP.

    Actually, I think their constituents did give them the job of opposing any and everything proposed by the Kenyan Muslim n!&&3r in the White house, especially if it helps any brown skinned person whatsoever. Immigration reform fits that job description perfectly.

  21. stonetools says:

    @T:

    @T:

    Why should he even come up with a plan when these clowns get rewarded by their constituents for not doing their fucking jobs. Political grandstanding and obstructionism counts for policy in the GOP.

    Actually, I think their constituents did give them the job of opposing any and everything proposed by the Kenyan Muslim dark person in the White house, especially if it helps any brown skinned person whatsoever. Immigration reform fits that job description perfectly.

  22. stonetools says:

    Please release my comment from moderation, thanks.

  23. Steve V says:

    @stonetools: According to the oracles of talk radio, the GOP was elected to repeal (or at least de-fund) Obamacare … and I forget the rest but I think it includes shutting down the government. So, in fact, they have not been doing their jobs. The current crop of GOP reps in Congress are capitulators.

  24. Bokonon says:

    @Steve V: And … the danger is that the GOP base will now select a bunch of people who are EVEN MORE EXTREME. And the radicalization will continue until they get what they want. And then they will blame a Democrat somewhere for the results.

  25. Steve V says:

    @Bokonon: Either that or they will never get what they want, because talk radio is in the business of promising unicorns that are somehow always not quite attainable during the election cycle under discussion. The goal is generating outrage more than anything, I think, and labeling the opposition as traitors. That, and there will never be another Reagan, and Reagan was the greatest conservative ever.

  26. David M says:

    It is amusing seeing the dynamic of “people are responding to Trump” because the GOP politicians can’t deliver on their [completely unrealistic] promises. Of course Trump is making even more unrealistic proposals, so the GOP voters aren’t going to be any less disappointed.

  27. DrDaveT says:

    @Steve V:

    and there will never be another Reagan, and Reagan was the greatest conservative ever

    Never mind the fact that Reagan’s policies are slightly to the left of Hillary Clinton’s…

  28. Tony W says:

    I appreciate, once again, the occasional honest Republican. McConnell is admitting that he bases his policy priorities not on what is good for the country, but rather whether Obama is in office or not.

    Should we regulate handguns? Depends, is Obama still president? How about naming a new storm drain or piece of lawn furniture after Ronald Reagan? Nope, that will have to wait until January 2017.

    Republicans flat out admit that they are incapable of the most basic governance, and that is seen by voters as a strength. I shuddered when Reagan ran for office – Trump is an order of magnitude worse, but now McConnell is fighting for position in the gutter of Republican politics.

    Destroying public education has really paid off.

  29. Grewgills says:

    “I think when the president took the action he did after the 2014 election he pretty much made it impossible for us to go forward with immigration reform this Congress.

    “I think when the president took the action he did after the 2014 election he office it pretty much made it impossible for us to go forward with immigration reform this in any Republican controlled Congress.

  30. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    I think I need to ask a different question than I did at the first of these Obama’s rhetoric is too harsh and doesn’t help. For a couple of years, we (here) have been watching the immigration problem develop and almost everyone, their pet dog, and the horses we all rode in on have been acknowledging that the GOP doesn’t want to address a serious solution to the problem. Shirt! Even Jenos and superdestroyer have admitted as much–and praised the GOP for their courage in opposing the hoards of Islamic terrorists that come in through our porous Southern border. That McConnell is unwilling to address the question is not even as newsworthy as *dog wizzes on hydrant*.

    But the problem is that Obama isn’t helping? Jeez, Doug, how stupid do you think we are? Or are you writing this blather to stimulate a comment thread, even if you end up getting beaten like a red-headed stepchild?

  31. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Yet again, we merry band of Democrats would like to thank our opposition for delivering unto us, for the foreseeable future, the fastest growing demographic in the nation. It is much appreciated.

    We also encourage you to keep putting all of your eggs into the diminishing “cranky old white people” basket. It’s sure to lead you to victory (wink wink).

  32. Barry says:

    @Tillman: “Vaguely resembles how the Iranians hated Carter so much, they wouldn’t release the hostages until he was out of office.”

    Given the Reagan administration dealings with Iran, it’s more likely that it was a quid pro quo.

  33. Jack says:

    Maybe if the specific demographic that Obama is targeting would stop stealing, raping, and murdering US citizens, something could be done. Only Democrats would want to give the lowest among us even more opportunities to steal, rape, and murder as US citizens.

  34. Matt says:

    @Jack: Where are they stealing their fellow US citizens to?

  35. Lenoxus says:

    @Jack: I’m trying to remember, which exculpatory ethnicity did you say your wife belonged to? Assuming she exists in real life, does she know how racist you are? Just curious.

  36. Jack says:

    @Lenoxus: My American wife of Mexican descent agrees with me. Nice try.

    You and I both know, if the people crossing the border by the millions per year were evangelical Christians wanting to home school their kids–Obama would have called out the Marines.

  37. Matt says:

    @Jack: Well they are pretty serious Catholics which frankly in my mind puts them in the same boat as evangelicals.