Special Bulletin. Annals of Self-Inflicted Wounds: Immigration and DHS Funding

In Blog No. 55, on December 20, we discussed the objections to the Omnibus Spending Bill raised by opponents of the President’s executive action with respect to immigration. We wrote:

We too have objected to the President’s action, but have noted that as a practical matter there is likely little that Republicans can – or should attempt to – do about it. (The omnibus bill funded the Department of Homeland Security only through the end of February so as to present another opportunity at that time for budgetary mischief inspired by Obama’s immigration initiative.) We are hopeful that cooler heads will again prevail in February.

Our view has not changed, but we are still waiting—and hoping—for the cooler heads to take control.Elephant-Fight1 […]

Blog No. 52 Immigration: The Scrap Between President Obama and the Republicans and a Calmer View

A starting place for discussing the current furor over President Obama’s actions on immigration is to understand that the President and many Republicans have, each for their own political purposes, exaggerated the impact of those actions. Speaking on Fox News Sunday on November 16, in anticipation of the President’s announcement, George Will wisely observed that: “It’s going to shield from deportation millions of people who actually face no realistic prospect of deportation. He’s going to give work permits to millions of people who are already working.”

Will went on to describe the proposed policy as one about which intelligent people could agree or disagree. He focused his criticism on the process, which he described as “execrable” and a violation of the “etiquette of democracy.” In a somewhat similar vein, we had observed in Blog No. 50 that:

We sympathize with the President’s goals in this area and understand his impatience, but we believe that creating protections for illegal immigrants that the law does not authorize, and that Congress has thus far declined to provide, would be a serious mistake. Although we support comprehensive immigration reform generally, and in particular the bill passed by the Senate, we think that acting outside the law and in defiance of Congress would be a major setback to reaching agreement on immigration, and most likely, a range of other issues.

Nothing in the President’s actions, or the reaction to them, has changed our mind. […]