Barack Obama claimed that immigration reform would remain at the top of his priorities for this year, but this expiration date lasted less than a day.  Roll Call confirms that the White House will drop immigration this year, consumed by its efforts to do damage control on the health-care and cap-and-trade fiascos falling apart on Capitol Hill:

The White House on Monday acknowledged that immigration reform is unlikely to move in Congress this year.

“I can see the president’s desire for it to happen but understanding that currently where we sit the math makes that real difficult,” said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

Obama will meet with a bipartisan group of lawmakers Thursday to discuss the issue at the White House.

But that meeting itself is in disarray as well, with people wondering whether they have invitations to the oft-delayed conference:

Backers of comprehensive immigration reform are gearing up for their first big meeting with President Barack Obama on Thursday, although it remains to be seen who will be attending and what will come of the bipartisan huddle.

Obama is hosting a small group of House and Senate lawmakers to begin discussions on the issue. Like Congressional leaders, Obama has signaled a desire to address the politically volatile issue but has given little detail on when or how to do so. …

Details of the meeting remain hazy. Key lawmakers still don’t know if they are invited or what to expect from the gathering.

Just expect some hope & change, baby!

Democrats complained in 2007 that the White House didn’t engage on immigration reform, despite George Bush’s rhetorical support for the McCain-Kennedy approach, which opponents called “amnesty lite.”  Now they have their own in the White House, and Obama makes Bush look like a legislative powerhouse.  In fact, Obama has developed a clear pattern of talking in generalities and then abandoning issues as soon as Congress begins to address them.  He’s done it on Porkulus, health care, cap-and-trade, and now on immigration.

Meanwhile, Helen Krieble has launched an effort called the Red Card Solution, a temporary worker program that requires workers to get the card in their home country before coming to the US:

Border security can only be accomplished by a combination of technology, border guards, AND a temporary work program to solve the labor problem.

The solution – border control and a temporary work program – does NOT require amnesty, and it does NOT require citizenship. The program is for temporary guest workers, not for immigrants – not for new citizens.

Well, this idea has floated around for a few years in different forms.  However, I’m not sure we have a “labor problem” any more.  We have unemployment hitting double digits, and the magnet for foreign labor has gotten a lot less powerful as a result.  I’m also not sanguine about a system that creates another visa category, and that relies on faulty enforcement to find violators and get them out of the US.  Much of the problem we have now came as a result of poor visa enforcement, and a red card won’t improve that on its own, although Krieble acknowledges that.

The small business owner plans to hold a briefing for staffers tomorrow morning, followed by a press conference in the afternoon.  Maybe Obama’s invitees could attend this meeting.  At least Krieble doesn’t keep postponing it.