As the so-called “amnesty” provision of President Obama’s executive action on immigration reform remains stalled in federal court, the political battle has taken to the streets. The twist here is that it’s not DREAMers chasing Rand Paul out of Steve King’s lunch table, or “patriots” demanding that Obama be lynched, it’s anti-immigration protesters revolting against an anti-immigration congressman.
Angry over Rep. Steve Knight’s (R-Calif.) support for the final bill that funded the Department of Homeland Security for the rest of the year, a protester confronted Knight outside of his office with an obnoxious aggro-handshake and slap on the shoulder. Rep. Knight didn’t react well:
“If you touch me again, I’ll drop your ass.”
Well, it certainly fits well on a bumper sticker.
As Knight frantically tried to explain to his gang of immigration-thwarting frenemies, he’s against “amnesty” (or, a legally rigorous pathway to documented status whose only alternative is deporting everybody), just not quite as crazily as they are. The protesters wanted Congress to shut down the Department of Homeland Security unless they got their way, while President Obama was like, “No.”
Obama won, and Knight, despite his claims to the contrary in the clip above, helped him win, voting with a handful of Republicans and 182 Democrats to fund the DHS without de-funding the president’s deferred action program. Now, as the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals mulls its decision and Republicans fight each other over how best to scuttle immigration reform, Hillary Clinton has already locked up the right side of this issue, tweeting:
As court hears immigration case today, at stake are stronger families, communities, & economy. Parents & Dreamers shouldn't live in fear. -H
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) April 17, 2015
If Republicans thought they lost the Hispanic vote by a lot in 2012 (and they did), wait until this intramural fistfight makes its way into the Republican primary campaigns, and immigrant-hating fanbois start confronting candidates at town halls, campaign speeches, and debates. Whatever problems Hillary Clinton may have as a candidate, the shot in the arm that these displays will give her with Hispanic voters, and voters who are turned off by moat-supporting anti-immigration freaks.
Their only real shot at mitigating this effect is Marco Rubio, but they first have to get him some water, and somehow get these same anti-immigration voters to nominate him. Right now, the Republican base is a gun pointed right at their own secret weapon.