J. Scott Applewhite, Associated Press
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, left, with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Va., talked with reporters at Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, in this Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014, file photo, after a GOP strategy session
After a year where very little went right for the Democratic Party, the GOP seems to be positioning itself to hand the president a major policy victory, potentially inflaming the Republican base. —Sean Trende

The House GOP leadership said Thursday that their plan is to provide legal status for 11 million illegals and possible citizenship for those who were brought to this country as children. This is deeply dividing the party, according to the New York Times.

“It’s time to deal with it, but how you deal with it is critically important,” Speaker John A. Boehner was quoted as saying at the annual Republican leaders’ retreat. “It’s one thing to pass a law. It’s another thing to have the confidence of the American people behind that law.”

Everyone agrees that immigration reform is a pressing issue, but many in the speaker’s own party disagree with the approach he is taking, as reported by the New York Times. Many members expressed distrust in attempting to negotiate with President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats.

“One of the root challenges is the lack of trust in President Obama and Senator Reid,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah was quoted as saying after the retreat. “It’s a shame because we agree perhaps on most of the issues, but getting past the basic hurdle of who we can work with is hard.”

According to Sean Trende, a senior elections analyst for Real Clear Politics, Republicans are cutting off their tongues to spite their faces.

“After a year where very little went right for the Democratic Party, the GOP seems to be positioning itself to hand the president a major policy victory, potentially inflaming the Republican base,” Trende wrote. “This is puzzling. My initial reaction was that the GOP leadership is playing some sort of three-dimensional chess, or else it is completely clueless.”

Ann Coulter, in an op-ed for The Daily Caller, said that the GOP is on a suicide mission if it thinks it can court the immigrant vote.

“The two largest immigrant groups, Hispanics and Asians, have little in common economically, culturally or historically,” wrote Coulter. “But they both overwhelmingly support big government, Obamacare, affirmative action and gun control.” She goes on to say that Republicans should not be helping the Democrats get elected and, by doing so, doing great harm to the country and its citizens.

Wesley Pruden of the Washington Times agreed that it would be suicide to surrender to the Democrats' immigration paradigm.

The Republican leaders “see how the Democrats have come to regard illegal immigration as an endless source of new votes,” Pruden observed. Furthermore, he said that, with President Obama’s and the Democrat’s power slipping, Republicans should wait until they control both houses of Congress before making a deal.

12 comments on this story

For the House Republicans' leadership the bottom line seems to be that it has to do something concerning immigration.

“Our national and economic security depend on requiring people who are living and working here illegally to come forward and get right with the law,” the GOP principles say, according to The Hill. “There will be no special path to citizenship for individuals who broke our nation’s immigration laws — that would be unfair to those immigrants who have played by the rules and harmful to promoting the rule of law.”

Erik Raymond is experienced in national and international politics. He relocated from the Middle East where he was working on his second novel. He produces content for DeseretNews.com. You can reach him at: