White House officials are locked in an intense debate over whether President Barack Obama should announce a plan to defer deportations for millions of undocumented immigrants before Election Day — mindful that whichever choice they make could be tagged as the reason that Democrats lost the Senate…
[I]t could hurt Democrats in the four most competitive Senate races. In Arkansas, Alaska, Louisiana and North Carolina, Latinos comprise only a fraction of the voting population and the Democratic incumbents want the president to disappear for the next two months.
If Obama waits until after November and still loses the Senate, immigration reform advocates will argue that had the president acted, the Democratic base would have been motivated to turn out for the party. Many Latinos are already frustrated with Obama’s handling of immigration through the years. Another delay risks a backlash from the community that could damage the ticket — although some Democrats argue it would be short-lived because Obama could quickly win Latinos back with the executive order.
“He’s going to do something; I just hope it’s bold enough to be worthwhile,” Richard Trumka, head of the AFL-CIO, told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast. “No matter what he does the right wing is going to go bonkers and say he doesn’t care about anything—[that] he isn’t enforcing the law.”…
Trumka said Thursday that the current “deportation policy doesn’t make sense,” and that Obama fell into a “classic trap” set by Republicans, raising the number of the deportations without guaranteeing a comprehensive immigration bill in return.
“What it did do is undermine the support [Obama] had in the Latino community because those communities really believe that they are under attack right now,” Trumka said. “You’re seeing families split up.”
Mitt Romney appeared on WNYM’s “The Cats Round Table” with John Catsimatidis today and took on Barack Obama over domestic issues, including immigration.
“The President should have enforced our immigration laws from the very beginning. His announcement of a form of amnesty only encouraged people to continue to flood over the border. So the right answer, of course, is to secure our border and hopefully to put in a series of immigration policy reforms so that we can finally get our handle on this immigration mess. We can stop illegal immigration and also make the legal process more transparent and have one that meets the needs of America as opposed to simply is [sic] overwhelmed by individuals either storming the border or overstaying their visas.”
“The president’s never going to get immigration legislation when he acts unilaterally,” Cole said on ABC’s “Face the Nation.” “He’s undercutting congressional authority, and he is breeding enormous distrust on the other side.”
Cole called the decision to pull back “wise,” though he speculated it was probably a tactical decision.
“If he wants a bill before the end of his presidency, he won’t act unilaterally, he’ll actually work with Congress,” he said.
President Barack Obama’s possible delay in taking action on immigration has thrown advocates and lawmakers from both parties a curveball, barely two months before the midterm elections.
Democrats who were bracing for the impact that Obama’s long-awaited announcement would have on their campaigns are now rethinking aspects of their strategy for the fall. Republicans who were considering legislative attempts to block Obama must reconsider whether that’s the best use of the few remaining work weeks before Election Day…
Immigration advocates were taken aback by word of the potential delay, having been given no advance warning by the White House. Kica Matos of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement said that after spending months keeping the pressure on Obama, the group had been shifting into preparations for the announcement itself. Now, Matos said, exhausted advocates will have keep up the pressure to ensure Obama doesn’t get cold feet and call off the announcement altogether.
With impeachment threats and potential lawsuits looming, President Barack Obama knows whatever executive actions he takes on immigration will face intense opposition. So as a self-imposed, end-of-summer deadline to act approaches, Obama’s lawyers are carefully crafting a legal rationale they believe will withstand scrutiny and survive any court challenges, administration officials say.
The argument goes something like this: Beyond failing to fix broken immigration laws, Congress hasn’t even provided the government with enough resources to fully enforce the laws already on the books. With roughly 11.5 million immigrants in the U.S. illegally — far more than the government could reasonably deport — the White House believes it has wide latitude to prioritize which of those individuals should be sent home…
Republicans are already hinting they’ll consider legal action to thwart what they’ve denounced as a violation of the separation of powers. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, in a conference call this month with GOP House members, accused Obama of “threatening to rewrite our immigration laws unilaterally.”
“If the president fails to faithfully execute the laws of our country, we will hold him accountable,” Boehner said, according to an individual who participated in the call.
These officials are optimistic about how a major executive action might influence history’s evaluation of Obama’s presidency. Those close to the president see it as a program that, along with the healthcare law and expansion of equal rights for gays and lesbians, could cement a legacy on a par with the achievements of the civil rights era.
“He sees immigration as an issue that speaks to a larger theme of his candidacy and presidency — that our diversity as a nation is strength, not a weakness, and is part of America’s genius,” said Jon Favreau, the president’s former longtime speechwriter.
An immigration program would solidify Obama’s place alongside Presidents Reagan and Lyndon Johnson as a leader who reshaped the government’s role in American life for a generation, one top White House official said. The advisor declared it would place Obama as the progressive version of Reagan.
These ambitions are slamming up against political and legal realities.
Our advice: Don’t do it.
Yes, the intransigence of Republicans in the House is exasperating. Many would vote for the bill, but in the name of party unity, the leadership gave its immigration hard-liners a veto. They’re blocking a national consensus for changes that would blend a path to legal status for the estimated 11 million undocumented people in the USA with tough enforcement and other changes to discourage future waves on illegal immigration.
This intransigence is also a necessary hurdle to overcome. Congress is the only appropriate venue for adopting such sweeping changes in policy. Obama himself has said so in the past. An executive order affecting a small segment of children brought here by their parents is one thing. A policy shift impacting millions of undocumented workers is quite another…
Better to let the legislative process play out. Eventually, major immigration reforms will be enacted, either on a bipartisan basis or by a Democratic majority that will work its will against a marginalized GOP. The changing demographics of the American electorate make that inevitable.
An executive order mandating legalization alone won’t address what’s wrong with the immigration system. The danger is that once President Barack Obama acts, that may be the end of what Washington does to address the issue — this year or for many years to come.
One-time legalization would do nothing to tackle the underlying cause: the dynamic that draws immigrants to come to the U.S. illegally in the first place — supply and demand. Most people come to work, drawn by our need to fill jobs for which there are no willing and able Americans…
The silver lining, if you want to call it that: We’re sure to get another crack at the underlying problem when the issue arises again, unavoidably, in a decade or two. That’s when the country will once again confront the consequences of failing to create a workable legal system — after another 11 or 12 or who knows how many million new unauthorized immigrants have come to the work in the U.S. illegally.
What makes all this more ridiculous is that of all the problems facing our political system, our broken immigration system should be the easiest to repair. The outlines of fair, sensible, and workable comprehensive reform are well known, and contained in the legislation passed by a bipartisan majority in the Senate last year. In a nutshell, it provided more resources to strengthen border security while recognizing the obvious and economically advantageous necessity of legalizing the status of people who have come to this country for a better life, are contributing importantly to it, and are never going to leave.
That Senate measure had the support of important constituencies in both political parties. Liberals supported it. Many conservatives did, too. Business supported it. Religious leaders supported it. In poll after poll, so did consistent majorities of Americans. None of that is surprising, since the bill was perceived by most people who looked at it as a common-sense approach to a problem that shouldn’t be that hard to solve. But those kind of people — sensible, public-spirited problem solvers — don’t have much influence in the nation’s capital these days.
Washington has become the place — more than it has been in generations past, I think — where people who would rather do anything than solve a problem go to be important. They are silly, useless people, who thrive by dramatizing their failings and appealing to the worst in the rest of us. They are leading a great nation toward mediocrity. We shouldn’t let them.
Via the Daily Caller.