Could be that this is just a pressure tactic, scaring Obama by threatening to spin his executive order as a sellout among Latinos unless he gives activists exactly what they want. They have a fair point on the strategic reality of it, though. If O decides to pull the trigger, going “small” seems destined to please no one. The GOP will be furious whether the number’s three million or eight million; if Obama’s order is constitutionally dubious, it’s dubious regardless of how many people it applies to. In which case, why not go big and at least make your base happy?
Activists who have consistently called on Obama to “go big” say they are angry about what they’re hearing and are ready to go on the offensive to ensure the administration doesn’t lose the nerve they believe they had to act decisively after the election.
There is growing concern about the range under consideration among activists. The bipartisan Senate bill included protections for about 8 million undocumented immigrants and some, like Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez who has been active in the immigration debate, have called for the administration to extend deferment to 3 to 5 million people. Two sources said the numbers they have heard fall below expectations, with one saying it is in the “low seven figures” and another saying it is “3 million.”…
“Whether it’s 1 million or 2 million or 7 million, it will be equal criticism,” said Marielena Hincapié, the executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. “This isn’t about appeasing Republicans; he’s never going to appease them.”
It all depends on how broad O makes the scope of his order. Does it apply to illegals who’ve been here for 10 years or more or to those who’ve been here, say, one year or more? Does it apply to younger people, who have many years of work and taxpaying ahead of them, or to older people too? Realistically, any new amnesty is going to reduce the already small odds of comprehensive immigration reform happening in the new GOP Congress to near-zero. Which makes me wonder: If he’s set to do this in December, maybe he’s counting on a signal from Boehner and/or McConnell in November that a deal is on the table if he holds off. That’s the only way O could keep amnesty activists off his back by further delaying an executive order, but that’s also highly unlikely. Maybe Boehner and McConnell should offer him full legalization a la the Gang of Eight bill if he agrees to sign their bill repealing ObamaCare as well. Let him explain to Latino voters why protecting the latter is more important than the former.
Incidentally, is any of this lingering frustration with O over immigration — and not just immigration, of course — giving Latino voters a reason to take a second look at the GOP? Maybe. The new WaPo poll found that fully 50 percent of Latino voters says it doesn’t matter who wins the Senate this year, and twice as many said Republicans winning it would be a good thing (30 percent) than a bad thing (15 percent). See last night’s QOTD for more on that. Or, better yet, see today’s mega-poll of Latinos by Pew gauging their midterm attitudes towards the two parties. On the one hand, Latinos still favor Democrats on the generic ballot 57/28; on the other hand, four years ago they split 65/22. On the one hand, when asked which party shows more concern for Latinos, Dems still lead heavily with 50 percent versus just 10 percent who say the GOP and 35 percent who say there’s no difference; on the other hand, two years ago those numbers split 61/10/23. This is interesting too:
Significant sub-groups of Latinos, including those born in the U.S., are evenly split on O’s decision to postpone his executive order on amnesty. (Then again, should we trust those numbers? Republican-leaning Latinos are mostly angry or disappointed by the decision, which makes me think some respondents took this as a question about the propriety of the order itself and not Obama’s decision to delay it.) Meanwhile:
Even self-identified Democrats among Latinos say a candidate’s immigration stance isn’t a dealbreaker for them. The question is what about the ones who say that it is — are they already committed liberals, unwinnable by the GOP even if Republicans embrace amnesty tomorrow or are they genuine persuadables who might respond to a Republican role in amnesty? There’s a mix, of course, but in what proportion? The answer to that question will decide how urgent a priority this should be for the GOP over the next two years.