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Don’t fall for it, Mr. President

I have two things to say about this.

Congressional Republicans are pronouncing President Obama’s proposal that the next Congress overhaul the country’s immigration laws as dead before arrival.

In his year-end news conference Wednesday, Obama said his biggest regret about the recent lame-duck session of Congress was the defeat of the DREAM Act, a measure that offered a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children.

“It is heartbreaking,” Obama said, as he talked about how such immigrants often realize they are without legal status only when they try to go to college or join the military. “That can’t be who we are. To have our kids, classmates of our children, who are suddenly under this shadow of fear through no fault of their own. They didn’t break the law – they were kids.”

Congressional Republicans said in interviews Thursday that their concerns about the measure remain strong, and both House and Senate GOP leaders said they would fight any attempt to legalize any of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country before the administration secured the nation’s southern border with Mexico.

“It is pointless to talk about any new immigration bills that grant amnesty until we secure the border, since such bills will only encourage more illegal immigration,” incoming House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) said in a statement.

1. This is a trap. There is no amount of “border security” that will appease the likes of Lamar Smith. If you try to give him what you think he wants, he’ll just move the goalposts. Going along with this will generate far more ill will among the President’s supporters than good will among his detractors. Don’t fall for it. Keep pushing for a sane and compassionate comprehensive immigration reform bill and the DREAM Act instead, which will put pressure on the Republicans and cause fractures in their coalition. It’s the right thing to do, and will be a political winner.

2. I’m saying it again because it just can’t be said enough: This is the team Aaron Pena chose to play for. Lamar Smith, Ted Poe, Louie Gohmert – they’re all his peeps now.

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