José Díaz-Balart, the host of Telemundo's Sunday interview show Enfoque, challenged an assertion by the Libre Initiative's Daniel Garza that presidential lack of leadership is to blame for inaction on immigration, reminding Garza and viewers that Republicans control the entire Congress.
Even though other spokespersons for the Libre Initiative -- which receives funding from the conservative Koch brothers -- have previously acknowledged Republican responsibility for the lack of action on comprehensive immigration reform, on the May 31 broadcast of Enfoque, Garza chose to assign blame to “a lack of leadership” persuasive enough to bring together “a group of people that already agree on certain things.” He added that Hillary Clinton's position on immigration -- which he called “extreme” -- showed her “inability to be a leader.” Díaz-Balart interrupted Garza to say that the other side also needs to work, but “many only talk,” referring to the fact that Republicans hold a majority in both the Senate and House of Representatives.
Translated from the May 31 edition of Telemundo's Enfoque,
DÍAZ-BALART: Now, Dan... If there was the political will in the House of Representatives - again, right now both the House and the Senate are controlled by Republicans - if there was political will, political leadership in both chambers, now we could at least have a conversation, a first step towards immigration reform so that families can stay together, and that isn't happening.
GARZA: No, no, that's why it's necessary to propose that a debate starts and that a new effort starts to try to accomplish reform...
DÍAZ-BALART: (interrupts) ... but the same political party controls both chambers!
GARZA: What's happening is that they can make all the promises they want Jose -- what really matters here is keeping those promises. Hillary Clinton has taken a position that is even more extreme than Democrats. She wants to advance reform, but on her own terms. What happens is this: Hillary, you can promise whatever you want but if you don't move to the center to reconcile differences, there's never going to be anything [reform-wise]. I think that that inability to be a leader, of persuading people, of consolidating a group of people that already agree on certain things in terms of a reform, that's what needs to be advanced. Therefore what the president has to do is not to impose his own law, his own whim, but work with the opposition to reach an agreement.
DÍAZ-BALART: But the other side also needs to work, and stop talking and not working. The big problem happening in this country is that many only talk and not work.
Garza also minimized Obama's executive action on immigration, referring to it as a “whim” and ignoring the fact that a poll by Latino Decisions showed that 89 percent of Latinos support the president's action, which could potentially benefit millions of undocumented immigrants by granting them temporary immunity from deportation.