Blame game: Obama isn’t the obstacle on immigration reform

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When House Speaker John Boehner last week said it was unlikely that he could get an immigration bill passed this year, he blamed it on mistrust of President Barack Obama. “The American people, including many of my members, don’t trust that the reform that we’re talking about will be implemented as it was intended to be,” he said.

If ever a statement needed to be translated from the language of politics to the straight talk of reality, that was it. Its only truth is that many of Mr. Boehner’s Republican colleagues revile Mr. Obama and have done so from the moment he entered office — and that leads them to distrust him on everything.

But on immigration reform, they are on a poor footing. If it’s one thing the Obama administration has been strict about, it has been in enforcing immigration laws. On the president’s watch, nearly 2 million illegal aliens have been deported — 369,000 of them in fiscal year 2013.

This significant rise in enforcement has led to complaints among people who would normally be Mr. Obama’s supporters. The Economist magazine recently dubbed this policy “The Great Expulsion” and said it was “one of the largest peacetime outflows of people in America’s history.”

The truth is that Mr. Boehner should blame his own colleagues, not Mr. Obama. What he really was saying was this: “Many of my members just can’t bring themselves to pass immigration reform, especially anything that smacks of amnesty, even though the business community and our party’s leaders support it as an essential policy for America. They also don’t care that this will go on hurting our chances with Hispanic voters.”

The Senate passed an immigration overhaul last year, but Mr. Boehner’s House is a house divided between Republicans and Democrats, and Republicans and Republicans. Rather than work toward a solution, it’s easier for him to blame Mr. Obama. The American people deserve more than this partisan nonsense.

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