The recent House of Representatives vote declaring president Obama’s executive order on immigration unconstitutional was an empty political gesture that merely serves as an expression of discord, since it has no chance of achieving anything meaningful.
This gesture is a waste of time, but in the Latino community it has a very specific meaning. It shows the will of the Republican majority to expose to deportation and labor abuse millions of people protected by the White House.
For these legislators, the executive order is reprehensible not only because it comes from Barack Obama. Also because it helps the undocumented – which for them are only worthy of punishment – and it benefits millions, a chilling figure for those who ludicrously fear an invasion from the south.
A combination of political hatred towards the White House, ignorance about the economic input of immigrants, and fear, is what has motivated the vote.
These are the predominant feelings in the House GOP ranks, who are unable to shed their ideological blinkers and take a mature look to the immigration issue.
Those dynamics have prevailed for the past years. But now this is going to change. Republicans will control both houses of Congress, and will have the chance to produce reasonable measures for all Americans.
An example of this change is the desertion of Florida GOP congressmen Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Díaz-Balart, who believe that Obama’s action is too limited and Congress should expand it. Likewise, some republican California legislators also opposed the measure.
Unfortunately, what those republicans have understood is not shared by their leadership. They know how Latinos feel and hope that their ranks will change; they trust their party.
Latinos, on the other hand, have no reason to believe that the hatred newly expressed by the U.S. House vote could be overcome. Deportation, family separation and immigrant suffering is the only consistent immigration policy of the Republican majority.