Pushing immigration reform in a recession?

posted at 10:14 am on April 9, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

The New York Times reports that Barack Obama will push for immigration reform, including legalizing illegal immigrants, as a top priority this year.  He expects plenty of pushback, and he’ll get it.  With America bleeding jobs at the moment and unemployment at 8.5% and rising, the sympathy for blessing those who drive wages downward will not flow easily.  But is Obama serious, or just pandering?

While acknowledging that the recession makes the political battle more difficult, President Obama plans to begin addressing the country’s immigration system this year, including looking for a path for illegal immigrants to become legal, a senior administration official said on Wednesday.

Mr. Obama will frame the new effort — likely to rouse passions on all sides of the highly divisive issue — as “policy reform that controls immigration and makes it an orderly system,” said the official, Cecilia Muñoz, deputy assistant to the president and director of intergovernmental affairs in the White House.

Mr. Obama plans to speak publicly about the issue in May, administration officials said, and over the summer he will convene working groups, including lawmakers from both parties and a range of immigration groups, to begin discussing possible legislation for as early as this fall.

Some White House officials said that immigration would not take precedence over the health care and energy proposals that Mr. Obama has identified as priorities. But the timetable is consistent with pledges Mr. Obama made to Hispanic groups in last year’s campaign.

That priority list gives a clue about where immigration reform will wind up in 2009.  Congress has already told Obama that he can’t have both health-care reform and cap-and-trade in the same year.  If immigration reform gets prioritized below cap-and-trade, it won’t come up at all.

In fact, the kind of legalization process envisioned by Obama will be even less popular now than when it got derailed in 2007.  Two years ago, unemployment was low and the economy was humming along.  Some people bought into the “jobs Americans won’t do” argument.  Now, Americans want those jobs, and as a recent study shows, they can get better wages when the government does its job and enforces immigration law.  They’re not going to cheer while the people who crossed the border illegally and took jobs while driving wages down get rewarded for those efforts.

Obama may want to push this in 2009 in order to avoid doing it in an election year.  No matter what happens on immigration reform, it’s unlikely to increase anyone’s popularity.  We saw that in good economic times, and that will be doubly true in a recession.  While Obama may have that kind of political capital, Congress does not, especially the House.  Democrats elected in traditionally conservative districts will lose those seats in 2010 if they push Obama’s view of immigration reform, while Obama doesn’t have to face voters for another two years.  It could provide a game-changer for the mid-terms, and even Nancy Pelosi has to be smart enough to know that.

Addendum: The Times notes one House member who clearly doesn’t understand the concept of civil rights:

Anticipating opposition, Mr. Obama has sought to shift some of the political burden to advocates for immigrants, by encouraging them to build support among voters for when his proposal goes to Congress.

That is why Representative Luis V. Gutierrez, a Democrat from Mr. Obama’s hometown, Chicago, has been on the road most weekends since last December, traveling far outside his district to meetings in Hispanic churches, hoping to generate something like a civil rights movement in favor of broad immigration legislation.

Illegal immigrants do not have a “civil right” to normalization.  The Civil Rights Movement worked to protect the rights of American citizens that had been denied through state and federal government action and inaction.  No foreigner is entitled to American citizenship, but we offer it when people meet certain conditions — like respecting our laws and emigrating properly to the US.  How embarrassing is it that a member of Congress can’t figure out the difference?


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I think this will blow up in their faces too.
Actually, I think the blow up starts April 15th. I do not think the left tards have any idea the fury that is out there.

ORconservative on April 9, 2009 at 11:53 AM

Stealing the jobs Americans used to have — I bet that will work out.

tarpon on April 9, 2009 at 11:54 AM

Great idea! Blow up the budget, raise taxes and absorb a huge low cost labor force during one of the worst recessions in the last hundred years while massively expanding the welfare base……Obamanomics strikes again.

moxie_neanderthal on April 9, 2009 at 11:55 AM

But is Obama serious, or just pandering?

He’s serious about pandering.

Grafted on April 9, 2009 at 11:56 AM

With BHO we have the perfect storm of Ignorance and Arrogance. Four years of this is going to hurt. America has found its very own Chairman Mao. Obama will deeply hurt America like Mao did China.

Mojave Mark on April 9, 2009 at 11:58 AM

I think that it is a feint. Watch Obama’s other hand.

Johan Klaus on April 9, 2009 at 12:03 PM

When Cap ‘n Trade hits, industry shuts down, and gas goes to $4/gallong, I’ll end up mowing yards in Mexico…

Wyznowski on April 9, 2009 at 12:08 PM

I saw a Democrat argue that legalizing illegals would be good for the economy and for wages because illegals could “come out of the shadows” and demand a decent wage (unionize) and that would force everyone’s wages up. And then we could tax them…and that would help the economy.

I looked at her and realized that she actually believes this crap.

I pray to My Sweet Lord Jesus that Obama tries to argue this way. Please….please…please..please.

29Victor on April 9, 2009 at 12:08 PM

I think that it is a feint. Watch Obama’s other hand.

Johan Klaus on April 9, 2009 at 12:03 PM

Yeah, the other hand is pulling a quarter out of your ear. And $60,000 out of your wallet.

29Victor on April 9, 2009 at 12:09 PM

You’ll notice that the lib posters can’t even attempt to defend Obama on this. The Democrats will only go through with this if they have plenty of Republican fig leaves for “bipartisan” cover. The rinos will be the death of the country.

Buddahpundit on April 9, 2009 at 12:10 PM

It’s a trip. The MIAC report and the latest Fusion Report demonizes some of the most patriotic Americans as terrorists, while the establishment is about to reward criminals.

Does anyone see a disconnect here? Is this what Beck is referring to when he talks about the Bubba factor?

True_King on April 9, 2009 at 12:14 PM

He is a total idiot.

becki51758 on April 9, 2009 at 12:20 PM

Our founding fathers, those brave Americans who risked everything to attain independence, were counted out before they began. They were faced with a fight against the largest, most well financed and trained army in the world. The idea that they could win was laughable.

People, we can regain this country. It may have to come to some very hard times, but we can return to the principles that laid the foundation for the greatest country on earth to emerge. But, we must first do what they did, place our future and endeavors in the hands of God asking for His providence as we seek to restore what He so graciously blessed, a nation founded on His son Jesus, the eternal Holy Word.

Jvette on April 9, 2009 at 12:23 PM

I think this will blow up in their faces too.
Actually, I think the blow up starts April 15th. I do not think the left tards have any idea the fury that is out there.

ORconservative on April 9, 2009 at 11:53 AM

Didn’t you get the memo? The Dems know exactly what we all think and want. It’s our job to blithely go along without complaint with whatever idiocy they shove our way…for our own good of course! Bless their little hearts. *rolling my eyes*

SassyDarlin on April 9, 2009 at 12:23 PM

The New York Times reports that Barack Obama will push for immigration reform, including legalizing illegal immigrants, as a top priority this year.

It makes political sense. Create another 5 million Democratic voters, turn Florida, Texas, and Arizona blue, and become a permanent majority.

Outlander on April 9, 2009 at 12:27 PM

Potentially brilliant move. I wonder how many people who don’t support amnesty even voted for Obama this year? If he loses only a small percentage of his white supporters and gets the latino vote to 90% like African Americans you can kiss Florida, NM, NV, CO, goodbye pretty much forever. He may take a hit in places like Ohio, but he didn’t really need OH to win this last time.

DeathToMediaHacks on April 9, 2009 at 12:29 PM

In my opinion Obama is not only proposing amnesty to try to ensure a permanent Democrat majority but also because he hates whites and Western culture and wants to drive down the percentage of the population that is white to make whites just another minority in the US. And the Congressional Black Caucus is fully on board with this in spite of that fact that blacks are disproportionately harmed by illegal immigration. They too want a grand coalition of ‘people of color’ to oppose the white majority.
Re. Gutierrez, the issue’s chief pusher, is also a race hustler and sees in an increased Hispanic population more power for himself and other Hispanic lawmakers. These people can’t stop looking at every issue through the lens of race.

DerKrieger on April 9, 2009 at 12:31 PM

Hmmm, might as well add the potential for near 90% of Asians too if this kind of thing becomes part of immigration reform debate.

Asians should change their names if they want to vote.

DeathToMediaHacks on April 9, 2009 at 12:33 PM

I think it’s more like, young workers add needed funds to the social security/medicaire funds + a desire to turn Texas blue.

DeathToMediaHacks on April 9, 2009 at 12:35 PM

Potentially brilliant move. I wonder how many people who don’t support amnesty even voted for Obama this year? If he loses only a small percentage of his white supporters and gets the latino vote to 90% like African Americans you can kiss Florida, NM, NV, CO, goodbye pretty much forever. He may take a hit in places like Ohio, but he didn’t really need OH to win this last time.

DeathToMediaHacks on April 9, 2009 at 12:29 PM

So glad you are pleased by all of this. Tell me, when the whole country is suffering and becomes just like Mexico, as many of the states you site already have, where do we go? Where can we flee to that has the liberty and success of America? Where will they go to escape the poverty and third world living conditions they will create here? Canada maybe?

Jvette on April 9, 2009 at 12:51 PM

With America bleeding jobs at the moment and unemployment at 8.5% and rising, the sympathy for blessing those who drive wages downward will not flow easily.

With GM’s sales going down can we afford to allow selling Toyotas?

radiofreevillage on April 9, 2009 at 12:55 PM

Hmmm, might as well add the potential for near 90% of Asians too if this kind of thing becomes part of immigration reform debate.

Asians should change their names if they want to vote.

She can’t pronounce 3-4 lettered Chinese names?

radiofreevillage on April 9, 2009 at 1:02 PM

Potentially brilliant move. I wonder how many people who don’t support amnesty even voted for Obama this year? If he loses only a small percentage of his white supporters and gets the latino vote to 90% like African Americans you can kiss Florida, NM, NV, CO, goodbye pretty much forever. He may take a hit in places like Ohio, but he didn’t really need OH to win this last time.

DeathToMediaHacks on April 9, 2009 at 12:29 PM

So glad you are pleased by all of this. Tell me, when the whole country is suffering and becomes just like Mexico, as many of the states you site already have, where do we go? Where can we flee to that has the liberty and success of America? Where will they go to escape the poverty and third world living conditions they will create here? Canada maybe?

Jvette on April 9, 2009 at 12:51 PM

This will mean the end of the nation as we know it.

This is exactly what the elite want because it will complete the integration of the NAU. They don’t care what we think, they will have their way regardless.

Looks like the conspiracy is well on it’s way towards final implementation.

True_King on April 9, 2009 at 1:02 PM

With GM’s sales going down can we afford to allow selling Toyotas?

radiofreevillage on April 9, 2009 at 12:55 PM

Just you wait, my friend- only a matter of time before it will be “noted” that as Americans we owe it to the auto industry to force foreign manufacturers to either raise their prices or eliminate them completely. Just because Toyota can build a cheaper, better car, doesn’t mean we have to let them sell it.

anniekc on April 9, 2009 at 1:11 PM

As the first lady almost said, “For the first time in my adult life, I am ashamed of my country.” Keep it up, Mr. President and your ilk; I want my country back.

AmericanDad on April 9, 2009 at 1:27 PM

Obama has already paid back Acorn to the tune of 4 billion dollars for their help in getting him elected.
He is now being pressured to pay back the hispanic groups that helped get out the hispanic vote, heaven knows how many of those votes were from illegal aliens, because he told illegals that he would work to give them amnesty in the first year of his presidency.
I believe THIS travesty of rewarding criminal activity by giving them citizenship will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
Amnesty angers Americans on BOTH sides.

HornetSting on April 9, 2009 at 1:32 PM

Chicago.

bluelightbrigade on April 9, 2009 at 1:34 PM

This will mean the end of the nation as we know it.

This is exactly what the elite want because it will complete the integration of the NAU. They don’t care what we think, they will have their way regardless.

Looks like the conspiracy is well on it’s way towards final implementation.

True_King on April 9, 2009 at 1:02 PM

That’s because the America we know and love is actually racist, imperialistic and unfair. We have gained our wealth by raping and stealing the resources of other countries and we greedily expect that we should reap the rewards of our own labor, rather than have it taken through government force and given to those who have been unfairly disadvantaged by all of the above mentioned American traits.

Jvette on April 9, 2009 at 1:36 PM

The President wants bipartisanship. He will get it. Bipartisan opposition.

captivated_dem on April 9, 2009 at 1:39 PM

Did anyone see where the family of the father and two sons killed by that illegal alien in San Francisco is suing the city because they did not enforce immigration law.
THIS will be a case to watch. It could open up the flood gates and give American Citizens that have been maimed or killed by illegal aliens.
I say-GO FOR IT!

HornetSting on April 9, 2009 at 1:40 PM

I’m afraid that John McCain and Lindsey Graham are busy licking their lips and getting ready to come out to ‘help’ Obama get his votes to ram this down our throats.
We need to get this story out, send it to EVERYONE on your email lists. Everyone needs to know what is happening so they can call their congressmen and women and raise hell.

HornetSting on April 9, 2009 at 1:42 PM

But is Obama serious, or just pandering?

Seriously pandering?

HornetSting on April 9, 2009 at 1:32 PM

$4 billion for Acorn? Outrageous, Absurd, Unethical!

The most incompetent President EVER!! He’s making Jimmy Carter look good.

One
Big
A$$
Mistake
America

jdkchem on April 9, 2009 at 1:43 PM

Pushing immigration reform in a recession?

Bad move.

So, what has Obama done in his first 2 1/2 months in office that has been a good move?

Seriously, I can’t think of a single thing.

Trolls? Please enlighten me.

UltimateBob on April 9, 2009 at 1:43 PM

HornetSting on April 9, 2009 at 1:40 PM

I would not hold out any hope there. In New York City MTA workers were not held liable for not assisting a woman who was being raped. “Liberal” administrations refuse to be held accountable for their actions or, especially, their inactions.

jdkchem on April 9, 2009 at 1:46 PM

This needs to get done before the election cycle of 2010, as far as the Democrat Party is concerned. It will become more imperiative to them if the Tea Party movement has legs. They’ll need those several million new citizens votes to stay in power. And that’s all this is really about; getting the votes and the permanent majority. That’s why it has to be done now.

michaelo on April 9, 2009 at 1:47 PM

What really irks me about the immigration issue is that it’s so unfair.

Every other country in the world has immigration laws and enforces them – usually pretty strictly. Why should America be the only place with no immigration law? This is patently unfair.

I tried to emmigrate to Australia back in the ’70s and they really made me jump through hoops. I had to have a job, a sponsor and a residence lined up. I did that. The last straw was when they demanded that I travel from Minnesota to San Francisco for a personal interview which could only be scheduled six months ahead of time. By the time my interview came up, my job had been filled.

Why should Mexicans have Carte Blance to work in a foreign country but not me? Why?

Unfair! Unfair! Unfair!

lonesomecharlie on April 9, 2009 at 1:52 PM

jdkchem on April 9, 2009 at 1:46 PM

I never even heard about that. Sad.
The immigration issue is a hot button issue and everyone saw the pictures and heard the sad story about this illegal alien gunning down these three men because they dared to turn in front of him.
I think this is going to ring true to those, repub and dem, who want our country back. I think even the dimmest of dems can understand what this could do to our country.

HornetSting on April 9, 2009 at 1:58 PM

This needs to get done before the election cycle of 2010, as far as the Democrat Party is concerned. It will become more imperiative to them if the Tea Party movement has legs. They’ll need those several million new citizens votes to stay in power. And that’s all this is really about; getting the votes and the permanent majority. That’s why it has to be done now.

michaelo on April 9, 2009 at 1:47 PM

Well, the illegal aliens that ‘hide’ in the shadows all year long-amazing how they can actually get their welfare and medical care, courtesy of the American Taxpayer-but they will come out of the shadows for one day, May 1st, when the march in the streets, cause mayhem, and demand rights that they feel are theirs. Talk about entitlement. This tops it all.
I say, after we have our parties, tell everyone to meet up again on May 1st to give them something to think about. We said no twice, we meant it.

HornetSting on April 9, 2009 at 2:01 PM

What are we being distacted from this time? I having trouble keeping up…

Anyway just as Europe will be predominatly muslim in 50 years, America will be predominantly latino in 50 years. My husband and I have two kids because we decided that is what we could afford. The El Salvadorean lady who cleans my mother’s house has 3 kids and no dad around and we’re always giving her extra money ands our hand me downs etc… Ignorance is costly. All three in school and she pays no taxes as she doesn’t declare her income because she is here illegally.

CCRWM on April 9, 2009 at 2:12 PM

I am not surprised. Back in 2006 when conservatives began to eat their own over this issue they swore it would be a winner for them and a drag for Democrats. Well they were wrong. Democrats picked up more seats in 2006 and Obama’s liberal immigration policy did not hurt him in the least in 2008.

I don’t doubt his program will be worse than the other one, that is the whole point of pushing it now.

As for work Americans will not do, there is still work like that. There are indeed jobs that Americans show no inclination for doing…such as certain kinds of field work. But a limited worker program could fill those kinds of jobs, there is no need to let in half of Mexico.

Terrye on April 9, 2009 at 2:14 PM

CCRWM on April 9, 2009 at 2:12 PM

Hello? And you, I mean, your mother is enabling her to continue to stay in this country and bilk the American Taxpayer….

HornetSting on April 9, 2009 at 2:14 PM

As for work Americans will not do, there is still work like that. There are indeed jobs that Americans show no inclination for doing…such as certain kinds of field work. But a limited worker program could fill those kinds of jobs, there is no need to let in half of Mexico.

Terrye on April 9, 2009 at 2:14 PM

If that were true, Terrye, NO ONE would be drawing welfare. I say, if there are still jobs out there, you can’t sit on your ass and play PSP all day and draw a welfare check.

HornetSting on April 9, 2009 at 2:18 PM

Just you wait, my friend- only a matter of time before it will be “noted” that as Americans we owe it to the auto industry to force foreign manufacturers to either raise their prices or eliminate them completely. Just because Toyota can build a cheaper, better car, doesn’t mean we have to let them sell it.

anniekc on April 9, 2009 at 1:11 PM

This is certainly Ed’s position. In a time of crisis, his solution is protectionist measures with the goal of inflating the price of labor.

radiofreevillage on April 9, 2009 at 2:27 PM

Hello? And you, I mean, your mother is enabling her to continue to stay in this country and bilk the American Taxpayer….

HornetSting on April 9, 2009 at 2:14 PM

I know and there is nothing I can do about it. My mother is Catholic and belives that she is helping her per the Beatitudes. I tell her the “swamping the boat story” but she cares for her and so that is that…

CCRWM on April 9, 2009 at 2:32 PM

I know and there is nothing I can do about it. My mother is Catholic and belives that she is helping her per the Beatitudes. I tell her the “swamping the boat story” but she cares for her and so that is that…

CCRWM on April 9, 2009 at 2:32 PM

Fair enough.

HornetSting on April 9, 2009 at 2:39 PM

[Yawn] Yesterday, piracy was this administration’s top priority. Maybe we should start a pool on what tomorrow’s will be. [/Yawn]

JM Hanes on April 9, 2009 at 3:56 PM

“Immigration reform” will blow up in his face, but he’ll turn to the illegals and tell them “Hey, I tired”. And they’ll believe him.

GarandFan on April 9, 2009 at 7:44 PM

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