There appears to be some debate in the Republican Party about just how to play President Obama’s new move on immigration. Some Republicans, including Mitt Romney, have knocked Obama’s motives but steered clear of the policy’s substance. Others, including Marco Rubio and Alberto Gonzales, are tentatively ">on board with the concept but have nonetheless criticized the political play it represents.
Then there’s the third category of Republican, on display Saturday at the Faith & Freedom Coalition conference in Washington D.C. and into which falls Indiana Republican Senate nominee Richard Mourdock. The tea party-backed candidate — who upset longtime GOP Sen. Richard Lugar to get his party’s nod — told TPM that Obama’s new policy will bring in more illegal immigrants, and urged the next president to walk it back it as quickly as possible.
“Absolutely it should be rolled back,” he said.
There are other Republican hardliners reacting strongly to Obama’s new policy. Rep. Steve King (R-IA), perhaps best known for warning Islamic terrorists are streaming across America’s southern border, is filing suit against the Obama administration to halt the new policy.
But by and large, the Republican attacks on the policy have focused on calling it a craven political act, rather than a dangerous move that will open the country up to more illegal immigration. Mourdock is not afraid to sound the alarm, calling on Romney to undo what Obama has done if he is elected president.
Every parent learns that if you reward bad behavior you’re going to get more of it. While we can all say it’s a compassionate thing for the children who were ostensibly carried across the border in their mothers’ arms, it sounds compassionate to give them special privileges, which is what this decision’s about. But the fact is we just rewarded bad behavior. Do we think we’re going to get more of it now or less of it now? I suspect we’re going to get more of it, and that’s a bad thing.
A better solution, Mourdock said, would be one modeled on the 2006 plan drafted by former Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), aimed at spurring “self-deportation,” an idea Romney touted on the campaign trail.
Mourdock believed there was a way for his party to re-frame the immigration debate.
“Marco Rubio and I spent some time talking about this just the other day and he says it brilliantly,” he said. “The Republican Party needs to be defined as the party of legal immigration.”
Rubio has signaled he agrees with the goals of Obama immigration shift, calling it “welcome news for many of these kids desperate for an answer,” but warning it is only “a short-term answer to a long-term problem.”