Remember when Barack Obama said he was going to tackle immigration reform in his first year in office? At the time, he had majorities in both the House and the Senate. Now, though, he doesn’t — and, while he deeply cares about the issue and wants to do something to fix a broken system, he just can’t. That darn Congress — only half of which is Republican, mind you — won’t let him.
He says he’ll make it his top priority post-reelection, though — but no promises that he’ll accomplish anything. He’ll still have to deal with those obstructive Republicans!
“I can promise that I will try to do it in the first year of my second term,” Obama said in an interview with Univision set to air on Sunday. “I want to try this year. The challenge we’ve got on immigration reform is very simple. I’ve got a majority of Democrats who are prepared to vote for it, and I’ve got no Republicans who are prepared to vote for it. …
“So what we need is a change either of Congress or we need Republicans to change their mind, and I think this has to be an important debate during – throughout the country. …
“And so I’m just going to keep on pushing as hard as I can, and what I’m going to be encouraging is the Latino community continue to ask every member of Congress where they stand on these issues, but the one thing that I think everybody needs to understand is that this is something I care deeply about. It’s personal to me, and I will do everything that I can to try to get it done. But ultimately I’m going to need Congress to help me.”
Let me translate all of that for you: “I’m President Obama and I’m ineffective. I can’t do what I want to do. My hands are tied.”
Why — if the president really wants to accomplish immigration reform — would he predict gridlock before he even proposes his preferred immigration policy? That’s no way to inspire those who disagree with him to work with him. I thought it was a sign of leadership to be able to obtain buy-in and inspire consensus. In fact, I seem to remember that Obama once ran for president on his ability to do just that.
He thinks there’s no common ground on immigration? I’ll take that to mean he doesn’t want the law to be respected, he doesn’t want secure borders and he doesn’t want an efficient immigration system that makes it easier for immigrants eager to contribute to our economy to enter the country legally.
If that’s not true — and he does want those things — then what in the world leads him to believe he can’t come up with an immigration policy that would have bipartisan appeal?
Why is it that, when we talk about immigration reform, we always talk about it in terms of amnesty? What to do with immigrants who are already in the country illegally is not actually the crux of immigration policy. That’s a question of law enforcement. The crux of immigration policy comes down to these questions: Who do we want in our country and how do we make it easy for those people to enter our country legally? Who do we want out and how do we keep them out? Surely we can agree that we want hard-working, law-abiding people who are eager to contribute to society in — and we want criminals, terrorists and other antisocial individuals out. But when’s the last time we’ve even talked about immigration policy in those terms? That’s the conversation we need to have.
Question for voters: Why would you vote for someone who repeatedly tells you he can’t do the job?