Every politically aware American has probably become familiar with the Hastert Rule. Even though Dennis Hastert has not been Speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives for six years, he is still associated with the unwritten rule that a Republican Speaker will only allow bills to go to the floor of the House that have the support of the majority of the Republican caucus. Otherwise stated, the Speaker’s job to keep the majority of the majority happy.
Unfortunately the lives and futures of perhaps as many as 13 million Americans have been left hanging by the Hastert Rule. This is because virtually every Democrat in Washington and a significant (and growing) number of Republicans want immigration reform. The clear majority of both houses of Congress are in favor. The Senate has passed a bi-partisan bill. Nearly ever Democratic member of the House, together some Republicans have signed on as sponsors of a nearly identical House bill.
Nonetheless, a minority in the House, composed of members of the majority party, are holding the whole thing to ransom. Well, not exactly ransom. That would imply that there is a price that could be paid for the freedom of these 13 million Americans. The minority majority-of-the-majority have been offered everything in compromises. They have been freely offered TEA Party non sequitur demands with regard to border security. But still the majority-of-the-majority minority operate under the fear of being primaried out of office from the Right.
Say what you will for statesmanship and principles – the majority-of-the-majority minority are first and foremost in the business of keeping their jobs. They’ve got to pretend to believe in the same sound-bite ideology as those who fear more brown voters. I know this is the case with my congressman, because he as much as told me so face to face.
Others who have met with their representatives have had similar experiences. Let’s face it. Congressmen aren’t stupid and for the most part they aren’t evil. (Except maybe Steve King, but we’ll leave that for another time.) They know that for the most part, the undocumented immigrants aren’t going anywhere. They are, after all, immigrants. That’s people who move to a new place to live.
Sure, the Obama administration has deported twice as many people and broken up twice as many families as the Bush administration. But the Obama administration likes big government, and what bigger type of government is there than children’s social services? Far more children have been orphaned and placed in State care by the deportation of parents under this administration than any other.
Several years ago, I blogged that this would happen. I said the number would be in the thousands. I was right.
But this isn’t enough for Steve King, Michelle Bachmann and the TEA Party. Bachmann famously claimed in October 2011 that she would not do anything for immigrant children and would even bar those born on U. S. soil from citizenship. She wants continuing multiple generations of non-citizens. After all, those children have done nothing to earn their citizenship – like Bachmann did by being born on U. S. soil.
This is the sort of minority majority-of-the-majority that seeks to maintain a two-tier system in this country, with 13 million people living here, working here, raising families here, and going to church here, but having at best limited civil rights.
Until 1865, there was another group of immigrants and the children of immigrants who were denied citizenship and had limited civil rights. There were about 4 million of them. Now we have 13 million similarly situated.
The minority majority-of-the-majority wants to keep it that way and under the Hastert rule and Speaker John Boehner, it appears they will get their way.