Let’s play “Guess Who Said it.”
The topic was the president’s request to Congress for $3.7 billion to cope with the immigrant crisis along the southern U.S. border, flooded by more than 50,000 children over the past year.
Ready? OK, here’s the quote:
“Republicans have to look at this as an opportunity that they have to work,” our mystery speaker said. “It’s an opportunity to get some things done to help secure the border.”
So, who said it? Was it:
(a.) President Barack Obama.
(b.) Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
(c.) Former Bush administration strategist Karl Rove.
(d.) Famed Washington, D.C., centrist and political analyst David Gergen.
If you guessed Rove, then you’re the big winner.
If you guess that a majority of congressional Republicans will happily and quickly follow the advice of the man who was once known as “Bush’s brain,” then you are likely the big loser. Don’t be too surprised by Rove’s stance. In his second term, President George W. Bush proposed a workable version of immigration reform.
Today’s elected Republicans have thus far shown little interest in discussing providing funds to address the problems on the border. They swatted down Bush’s reform ideas just about as firmly back in 2006 and 2007.
The Obama administration says more than a third of the money it’s requesting — $1.6 billion — would go to expediting the deportation hearings and better securing the southern border. A larger share — $1.8 billion — is for housing and caring for the children until they are either deported or granted asylum. White House officials predict the majority will very likely be deported.
The request also proposes $300 million in foreign aid for the Latin American countries the children are fleeing because of dangerous conditions and a lack of opportunity.
Speaking Thursday on Fox News, Rove cautioned that the president can’t be fixated on the exact amount of his request. There’s got to be room for compromise, he suggested.
Credit Rove for acknowledging two basic facts. Suggesting Obama is behind some secret conspiracy to flood the border with immigrant children — and, yes, that’s been suggested by some — is a losing stance for Republicans. The other is that the current crisis is as good a time as any for both parties to work together on immigration and maybe — just maybe — compromise on a more comprehensive reform package.