True, it’s not Obama’s fault that amnesty is dead. The way to get amnesty (as Lawrence O’Donnell once pointed out to me) has been clear for years: gain support for legalizing the current wave of illegal immigrants by demonstrating that you can and will prevent the next wave of illegal immigrants. The reason Latino leaders won’t take this deal is equally obvious: they don’t want to prevent the next wave of illegal immigrants–at least of Latino illegal immigrants. If they did, they’d have their amnesty by now.
That’s their fault. But a President who was a leader would move them off their head-meets-brick-wall position. (He could even appeal to the same ethnic sentiments that drive the immigration debate on the ground: Let’s help the Mexican economy prosper. Let’s increase the quote of legal Mexican and Latin American immigrants, and welcome them–but also do what it takes to block and deter illegals.) Instead the White House’s plodding, by-the-numbers Latino strategy–meetings and more meetings to say the same things that haven’t worked before and hope that rouses the ethnic vote one more time–is itself all the proof you need that the immigration issue is still on the backburner. If it wasn’t, someone in the adminstration with a bit of imagination might give it some thought.