Trust Me! I Told Them Not to Screw You Until August: Twice now–on deportation policy and on admitting young illegal immigrants into the military — the Obama administration has set in motion concessions to immigrant activist groups only to put those changes on hold in order to not inflame Republicans who might, left uninflamed, pass an immigration bill.
The Republicans say they won’t pass an amnesty-for-enforcement swap — i.e. a “comprehensive” bill — in part because they don’t trust Obama not to take anti-enforcement executive action — like failing to deport people — after the bill has passed.
But how is delaying the executive actions supposed to increase trust? Does Obama want credit for his forbearance? If someone’s proposing marriage, do you decide that he’ll be faithful because he sends his mistresses away for two months?
The Obama strategy may make sense if you assume the Republican “trust” complaint is purely a cynical issue of optics–e.g. GOP House members need to look like they’re tough on immigration and it would be too obvious they’re patsies if they passed a bill after Obama had weakened enforcement by improvising on earlier statutes. But I suspect Republicans — at least many Republicans — are actually sincere in their distrust of the White House. With good reason, it looks like.