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THE MUSINGS OF A TRADITIONAL SOUTHERN DEMOCRAT

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Location: Douglas, Coffee Co., The Other Georgia, United States

Sid in his law office where he sits when meeting with clients. Observant eyes will notice the statuette of one of Sid's favorite Democrats.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Border crisis exposes dilemma for Republicans as it energizes conservatives

From The Washington Post:

As lawmakers returned home to begin a month-long summer recess this week and prepare for the final stretch of a competitive mid-term campaign, the debate over how to handle the recent influx of Central American children and families across the southern border has pushed immigration back to the national political forefront and presented a sharp conundrum for Republicans.

The crisis has empowered conservatives, whose more restrictionist views on the crisis and the broader issue of dealing with the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the country have taken precedence in the party. House Republicans are pushing for more deportations, and several of the party’s prospective 2016 White House contenders are moving to align themselves with the GOP’s pro-enforcement wing.

The tough rhetoric can help Republicans with their goal of making the mid-terms a referendum on Obama’s leadership in their bid to win the Senate. And it helps aspiring presidential candidates as they seek early support among conservatives who will be important in deciding the nomination.

But the strategy runs counter to the party’s announcement — after losing the presidential race two years ago — that its future depends largely on broadening its appeal to minority groups and that its viability as a national force in 2016 and beyond depends on making inroads with Latinos, one of the fastest-growing voting blocs.

Last week, the GOP-led House voted to authorize millions of federal dollars to send National Guard troops to the border to stem the influx of minors from Central America, moved to overturn an anti-trafficking law meant to protect the children and voted to end an Obama administration program that has postponed the deportations of more than half a million young immigrants.

The moves by the Republicans were met with outrage among immigrant rights groups, but GOP lawmakers touted their actions as a response to a border fiasco of Obama’s making and a bid to present the White House’s potential executive action on immigration as an unconstitutional power play.

House leaders had already decided this summer to abandon efforts to pursue broader legislation — a decision that prompted the White House to lay the groundwork for executive action that some advocates say could defer deportations of up to 5 million immigrants.

[Sen. Rand Paul's (R-Ky.)] recent comments reflect a rightward tilt among several of the party’s presidential candidates, particularly those who, like Paul, have sounded a more centrist tone in the past.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), for instance, announced plans to send 1,000 National Guard troops to the border, calling the Obama administration’s response to the current crisis inadequate. Perry was criticized by conservatives during his failed 2012 presidential bid for backing in-state college tuition for illegal immigrants.

Another potential White House contender, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), was among the Senate group that authored the bipartisan immigration legislation passed by the chamber last year. But amid fierce opposition from conservatives, who called the bill an unfair amnesty for illegal immigrants, Rubio has focused his message heavily over the past year on border enforcement.

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