Congressional Republicans are already taking a beating from the latest Spanish-language television network in the country. How about the largest Spanish-language newspaper?
Last week, House GOP leaders embraced something called the "KIDS Act," which is basically the renamed Republican version of the DREAM Act. The political calculation isn't subtle: Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) may kill comprehensive immigration reform, but they're hoping this lesser bill softens the political impact.
There are, of course, several problems. For one thing, Boehner and Cantor have already voted against a nearly identical measure, reinforcing doubts about their sincerity. For another, their bill would let children who were brought into the U.S. illegally stay, but still call for the deportation of those kids' parents.
Family values are a pillar of traditional Republican discourse. But as soon as it comes time to address immigration issues, all of their emphasis on family unity goes out the window, replaced by advocacy for division. [...]In reality, using Cantor's own words, it is cruel and indecent to think that the young Dreamers would be satisfied with a measure that protects themselves but simultaneously deports their parents. Likewise, it is the height of hypocrisy to posture oneself as representing family integrity, while heartlessly promoting actions that divide the family home, whose human worth knows no borders.
La Opinion, not fooled by the shell game, dismissed the Republican bill as "unacceptable."
The next question is whether House members themselves will reach the same conclusion.
Boehner and Cantor see this modest measure as a face-saving tactic -- something to point to when immigration advocates condemn GOP opposition to a bipartisan reform bill. But even this half-step is depending on the House actually passing the "unacceptable" KIDS Act.
I haven't seen a firm head count, but right-wing lawmakers, including but not limited to Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), have already said the legislation is too liberal for their tastes. Democrats, who consider the DREAM Act a no-brainer, might be inclined to go along with a similar proposal, but don't see much value in giving Republican leaders a hand in passing their own scheme.
In other words, Republicans may once again find themselves in the awkward position of rejecting a sensible bill, crafting a weak alternative, and then failing to muster sufficient support for that, too.
Update: Steve King latest gem on this bill: For every valedictorian DREAMer who has been brought to this country by his or her family, "there’s another 100 out there who, they weigh 130 pounds and they've got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert. Those people would be legalized with the same act." I guess he's a "no," then.