NDN Statement on Senate Immigration Bill

Today it is clear that the Republican Party has assumed a new role in American politics - as committed and determined enemies of progress.

Whatever the issue - Iraq, energy policy, much needed investments in our workers and kids, and now the immigration bill - the Republicans have proven themselves incapable of tackling the emerging challenges of the 21st century.

You would think that they would have learned from what happened to them in 2006.  After years of terrible government, important challenges unmet and repeated betrayals of the public trust, the American people threw the Republicans from power.  The message they sent is that they once again wanted an American government focused on solving the great challenges facing the nation.

They wanted progress, not politics.

On this immigration bill the Republicans had it all.  They had a deep and broad coalition that included the Chamber of Commerce, leading labor unions, the Catholic Church, their own President and all the leaders of the Democratic Party.  They had a bill that passed the Senate with broad bipartisan support in 2006.  They had the political lesson of how this issue failed to help them in the last election.  And they had a Democrat, Senator Ted Kennedy, who did everything he could to accommodate their demands, even when they were impractical, unreasonable and mean-spirited. 

Yet despite all this the immigration bill did not move forward.  We are left with a broken immigration system that threatens our national security and betrays our core values.  It is simply unacceptable that we have not made progress on this issue of pressing national concern.  And what we must all realize is there has been one party - the Democrats - who have done everything they could to solve this vexing national problem.  And the other party, the Republicans, have used every tool at their disposal to block, delay, and cripple any progress. 

Democrats, now in power, are looking for partners in helping move this great country forward.  What they are getting from the Republicans is more of what the nation saw these last six years - an inability to do what is necessary to meet the challenges of our new century.  On this immigration bill the Republicans have shown that they have become something sad, defeated, without ideas and angry.  The whole nation should be nostalgic for the party of Reagan.  Instead what we now have is a GOP that is simply incapable of serving as a serious partner in helping America meet the daunting challenges of our new century.