Aug 02, 2012.
You've heard it: "President Obama broke his promise on immigration reform." It's wrong. Whoever says it is either grossly misinformed, or lying.
The same is true of other "broken promises" assertions. Obama gets hit on gun control, and for not closing the prison at the Guantanamo Naval Base in Cuba.
Are they really "broken promises?"
Let's take them one at a time.
Immigration. Can you say, "filibuster?"
The Republican line goes like this:
"Obama had control of congress for two years yet he did nothing about immigration reform."
That's only partly right. The Democrats had a majority in congress, true, but not enough to overcome the nuclear obstructionist option the Republicans threw down.
When the DREAM Act came up in 2010, the Republicans in the senate used what's known as a filibuster. Basically, it's a stalling tactic. The minority party, in this case the Republicans, use it to hold the Senate hostage. They keep talking to prevent a vote, until a bill dies. To stop it, "three-fifths" of the Senators, usually 60 of the 100, have to vote for something called "cloture."
You can’t do that if you only have 57 votes on your side. And that's how many Dem senators there were at the time.
Enough for the civics lesson.
The bottom line is this: Obama pushed for immigration reform, in the form of the DREAM Act. The Republicans used an invincible tool to stop him.
In fact, they had already stopped immigration reform before that, when their own president, George W. Bush, tried.
And, when Marco Rubio started talking about putting up a variation of the DREAM Act this year, and his good buddy from Florida, David Rivera, proposed one in the House, it was Republicans who jumped up to say, "No way!"
Republicans -- including Mitt Romney -- screamed even louder when Obama pushed the Justice Department to block Arizona's immigration crackdown law. They called it an infringement on state rights.
During the primaries, Republican presidential candidates tried to outdo each other in their defense of Arizona's right to question anyone who "looked illegal." They applauded similar laws in other states.
And when Obama stepped in with his "stopgap" DREAM Act halting the deportations of young undocumented immigrants, Republicans claimed he had grossly overstepped his authority. They called the move "unconstitutional" and a blatant and illegal power grab.
No less than Marco Rubio said the administration was "once again ignoring the Constitution and going around Congress."
Iowa Republican Steve King, who you might remember as the U.S. Representative who compares immigrants to dogs, swore to fight.
"I expect to bring a lawsuit against the president of the United States to suspend his executive order," King told the Des Moines Register, adding, "It's no longer about what policy you might prefer, and it's whether you uphold the Constitution and rule of law."
Of course, it makes you wonder where King was when George W. issued his 291 executive orders over his eight years in office. (Which, in case you're wondering, means Obama has a little catching up to do. He's only issued 130 in his nearly four years in the White House.)
Conclusion: Polls show the majority of Americans want the DREAM Act. An even bigger percentage of Hispanics want it. The Republicans don't. They'll block anybody who tries. And then they'll say the other guy broke his promise.
Next up: Gun control. Broken promise?
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