Is John Boehner Believable On Immigration?

Last Week, President Obama told
Latino voters to
punish
our enemies
.

As you can imagine, a lot of people
were

upset
and the GOP has tried to gain some political
mileage. In a rally for Republican candidates in Ohio,
Speaker-presumptive John Boehner said:

“Today, sadly, we have president who uses the
word `enemy` for fellow Americans—fellow citizens. He
uses it for people who disagree with his agenda of
bigger government—people speaking out for a smaller,
more accountable government that respects freedom and
allows

small businesses to create jobs
. Mr. President,
there`s a word for people who have the audacity to speak
up in defense of

freedom
, the

Constitution
, and the values of limited government
that made our country great. We don`t call them
`enemies.` We call them `patriots.`”

[John
Boehner to hit President Obama on `enemies`
,
Mike Allen, Politico, November 1, 2010]

Great red
meat stuff for
Red
State
voters. But there`s one minor problem. Obama
wasn`t talking about

limited government
,

taxes
, or

freedom
. He was talking about…immigration.

Obama`s
offending remarks came about this way:
Univision
Host
Eddie Piolin gave him three choices on what to talk
about in their interview:

“A.) Immigration reform B.) Immigration
reform, C.) Immigration reform or D.) All of the above.”

The

enemies
that Obama referred to in his reply were not
supporters of
job
creation
or the
free
market,
but, he said,

“…those who are

politicizing the issue
, who are

supportive of the Arizona law
, who talk only
about
border
security
but aren`t willing to talk about the
other aspects of this, who don`t support the

Dream Act,
who are out there engaging in rhetoric
that is divisive and
damaging
that
— those aren`t the kinds of
folks who represent our core American values.”

Obama made it clear that his
“enemies” were not mere Republicans by stating

“…if Latinos are gonna support Republicans, they should say to the
Republican candidate, the

price of our support
is you publicly saying that
you`re gonna support

comprehensive immigration reform
.
[Transcript
of President Barack Obama with Univision
,
LA Times, October 25, 2010]

That Boehner would respond to
Obama`s attack on Americans who oppose amnesty and

want to enforce our immigration laws
by pretending
that the president was talking about taxes should tell
something about where his priorities are.

John
Boehner is now probably the most powerful Republican in
the country. With a 43-seat majority in the House, and
dozens of

moderate Democrats
willing to support some

patriotic immigration reform,
any bill that the
Republicans are solidly behind could easily pass the
House.

But
Boehner has a very mixed record on immigration. He has a
career B- grade from NumbersUSA for his 20 years in
Congress. Some of the positive aspects in his record:
co-sponsoring the CLEAR Act that would empower local law
enforcement to take on illegal immigration; voting
against the Chrysler-Berman Amendment to HR 202, which
would have massively increased legal immigration in
1996.

Unfortunately, there are serious negative aspects to
Boehner`s record too: he consistently votes in favor of
increasing both high- and low-skilled guest workers,
voted twice for the

245(i) Amnesty
and for amnesty for Central
Americans; and, most significantly, was one of just 17
Republicans to vote

against
HR 4437, the Border Protection,
Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of
2005.

Boehner
justified his opposition on the most important part of
the act—mandating

E-Verify
—noting


We
can`t strengthen our nation`s borders by strangling our
nation`s economy. This bill has many strong points and I
wanted badly to vote for it, but the massive

employer
mandates
included in the bill ultimately made
that impossible… under the guise of securing our
borders, this bill gives the federal government
authority to sign-off on every hiring decision in the
country. Federal bureaucrats will have Americans`
personal information at the touch of a button. This has
`Big Brother` written all over it. The vast majority of
America`s several million employers are law-abiding and
should not be burdened with another cumbersome federal
mandate. Forcing them each to REVERIFY the work
authorization of ALL previously hired employees is
impractical, unfair, and does little to combat the
illegal immigration HR 4437 intends to address."

Somehow I
doubt it is really Boehner`s civil libertarian streak
that made him vote against this bill, which
even Ron Paul supported. Rather, Boehner was most
likely influenced by the opposition of the

Chamber of Commerce
,

National Restaurant Association,
and the other
business groups that lobbied against the bill.

This in
2008, Boehner signed the discharge petition for the

SAVE Act
that mandated E-Verify for all employers.
Unlike HR 4437, the SAVE Act only requires E-Verify for
new hires, but I don`t see how this is really any less


“Big Brother”
and how it really palliates any of
his initial purported objections.

My
cynical explanation: between 2005 and 2008, immigration
became a major issue for the

Talk Show Right.
Boehner knew that he would lose
popularity if he opposed immigration enforcement.

Indeed,
since becoming minority leader in 2007, Boehner has
generally done and said the right thing. He has only
made one minor bad vote in Congress.
In 2007, he called the Senate Amnesty bill a
“piece of s—" When asked about Arizona`s SB 1070, he said
“It has a 70
percent approval in Arizona and I think that we ought to

respect the people of Arizona
in their right to make
their

own decisions
.
When asked about repealing birthright citizenship
for illegal aliens, he said it was
“worth considering”. [John
Boehner backs Arizona law, criticizes Democrats
,

Politico.com, April 27, 2010]

Yet talk
is cheap. The fact is that, in this Congress, Boehner
has not co-sponsored a single piece of immigration
legislation. Nor did he sign onto Rep.

Jason Chaffetz`
anti-Amnesty resolution or the

Immigration Reform Caucus`s amicus brief on SB 1070.

Boehner
clearly would like to ignore immigration as much as
possible.


We`ll be watching!

"Washington Watcher" [email
him
] is an anonymous source Inside The
Beltway.