Pro-Immigrant Group Slams Obama for “Immigration Fakery” in Omitting Immigration Reform from Second Term Plansby Bob Quasius, Sr. on Oct. 29, 2012, under Border Security, Immigration Reform, Mitt Romney, Obama
by Bob Quasius
Sharing this news release, with Arizona context. Much of Arizona’s border is remote, and as border fencing, security, etc. has been beefed up in other states, Arizona, in particular the Tucson Sector, has become a funnel for increased illegal border crossing.
The U.S. currently has seven million unauthorized immigrant workers, with the capacity to remove approximately 400,000 per year. Just 1.7 million guest worker and training visas were issued in 2011. In other words, less than 20% of ‘guest workers’ have a visa! Most guest worker visas are subject to strict quotas. In many cases the quotas are a small fraction of need, and across the board employers and employees encounter considerable red tape, delays, etc., and once a visa is issued, guest workers cannot readily change employers, which allows unscrupulous employers to exploit them.
For example, the U.S. has 1.5 million non-citizen agricultural workers, but only 12% have some type of visa. Many states that have implemented immigration crackdowns quickly experienced farm labor shortages. Even states that did not crack down, such as Washington State, are experiencing farm worker shortages. Some Americans are willing to take these types of jobs, but not in the numbers needed by agriculture. Georgia and Alabama experienced widespread crop losses after implementing SB1070 type laws, as immigrant farm workers fled but few Americans took their place. After SB1070 was passed, over 100,000 immigrants fled Arizona, and yet Yuma’s unemployment rate remains at great depression levels.
Fixing legal immigration and guest worker programs can be expected to reduce illegal border crossings by diverting the flow of migrant workers into legal channels, allowing the border patrol to focus on those who are truly dangerous, such as drug traffickers, gun runners, and terrorists. The grid lock on immigration reform remains in Washington, with Obama blaming Republicans when in truth Republicans are deeply divided on immigration reform, but don’t trust Obama! Read our release below for more perspective…
Marshall, MN – National pro-immigrant group Cafe Con Leche Republicans today slammed President Obama for failing to include immigration reform in his second-term economic plan titled “A Plan for Jobs & Middle-Class Security.” In May 2011 Obama described immigration reform as an “economic imperative” and yet incredibly Obama fails to include immigration reform in his economic and jobs plan!
During both presidential campaigns, Obama often promised to introduce immigration reform during his first year in office. However, Obama failed to put anything on the table during his first two years in office, despite a strong majority in Congress, and a cloture-proof majority in the Senate.
In a recent interview with Univisión, Obama again blamed Republicans for his own lack of leadership on immigration:
“My biggest failure so far is we haven’t gotten comprehensive immigration reform done, but it’s not because for lack of trying or desire, and I’m confident we are going to accomplish that.
What I confess I did not expect, and so I’m happy to take responsibility for being naive here, is that Republicans who had previously supported comprehensive immigration reform, my opponent in 2008 who had been a champion of it and who attended these meetings, suddenly would walk away.”
Obama’s biggest failure has been failure to work with Congress on a range of issues, not just immigration, and the second part of his answer to Univisión highlight his constant blame of others for his own leadership failures. Obama also failed to put immigration reform on the table during his first two years, and yet still blames Republicans for blocking it!
Obama’s actions as a Senator underline a different explanation of Obama’s failure to lead. Obama claimed he supported Bush’s immigration reform bill, then quietly worked with Harry Reid to sabotage Bush’s immigration reform through poison pill amendments and procedure to encourage moderate Republicans to drop their support, and then blaming Republicans for the bill’s failure. In a 2010 Wall Street Journal Op-ed, former Bush administration official William McGurn described Obama’s “immigration fakery”:
Earlier this month President Obama gave us his speech on comprehensive immigration reform.
Since then, observers have commented on its similarity to the Oval Office address given by George W. Bush four years earlier. As someone who had a hand in the Bush speech, let me point out two striking differences.
First, President Bush actually wanted an immigration bill, and indeed many of his conservative critics loathed him for it. Second, because he knew that such a bill required bipartisan support, he did not disparage members of the other party.
Wait a minute. Hasn’t Mr. Obama told us how he “reached across the aisle in the Senate to fight for comprehensive immigration reform”? Well, yes, those are his words. The back story, however, suggests another face to our president. For then-Sen. Obama also favored a series of amendments that were plainly recognized as bill-killers—spurning not only Mr. Bush and Mr. McCain but the Democratic architect of that compromise, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D., Mass.).
One such amendment was Mr. Obama’s own, which aimed to substitute family ties for education and skills when determining who gets green cards. That led to what the Associated Press called a “heated exchange” with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.). Mr. Graham accused Mr. Obama of undercutting Democrats and Republicans working for reform—contrary to his lofty campaign rhetoric about Americans coming together.
So when you are out on the campaign trail, my friend, tell them about why we can’t come together,” said Mr. Graham. “This is why.”
Mr. Obama’s mischief did not stop there. Though his own amendment failed, he supported another poison pill by Sen. Byron Dorgan (D., N.D.). Mr. Dorgan’s target was the guest-worker provision, another key to GOP and business buy-in.
There were 70 “yea” cloture votes to introduce Bush’s immigration reform, including dozens of Republicans. After Obama’s fakery and Harry Reid’s chicanery in not allowing debate on most Republican amendments, immigration reform failed to gain the required “yea” votes in two cloture votes to end debate and take up a final vote. Although the second cloture vote came closer to the required 60 “yea” votes, instead of allowing amendments and debate to continue until 60 votes were secured, Reid pulled the bill.
A constant narrative from Democrats ever since is that Republicans blocked immigration reform, when in fact Reid pulled the bill from the floor as “yea” votes for cloture approached the required 60. Not surprisingly, Republicans in Congress learned not to trust Obama on immigration and other issues, trust that is essential for bipartisanship. In fact, there has been almost no bipartisanship during Obama’s presidency, a problem that began during Obama’s tenure as a Senator, as described Bob Woodward’s book “The Price of Politics.” In our opinion, Mitt Romney demonstrated the ability to work across the aisle as Governor of Massachusetts, where he had to work with a legislature with 85% Democrat majority, and this, combined with Mitt Romney’s economic plan and immigration reform platform led us to endorse Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney can be expected to work with both parties in Congress, find middle ground, and pass immigration reform as promised, while Obama will either ignore the issue or continue to use immigration as a wedge issue as he has done now for years.
Obama campaigned in 2008 on a strong commitment to pass immigration reform during his first year in office, but during his first two years in office Obama failed to put anything on the table despite a strong House majority and cloture-proof majority in the Senate. He failed to even call Democrat senators in support of the DREAM Act, and Reid combined abortion measures and gay marriage with the DREAM Act to ensure that few Republicans would vote for the DREAM Act. Despite failing to put anything on the table, Obama has continued to blame Republicans for his own lack of leadership on immigration reform. Sadly, ‘hope and change’ has become ‘hype and blame’ and we have seen no progress on immigration reform during Obama’s presidency.
During the last year of the Bush administration, the H2A agricultural guest worker program was streamlined to help farmers obtain the guest workers they needed, while also enhancing accountability for hiring unauthorized workers. Upon taking office, Obama promptly canceled Bush’s H2A improvements, and then made the H2A program even more difficult for farmers. About 88% of non-citizen farm workers are unauthorized immigrants as a result. The H2A system remains broken to this day, although there is flexibility to reform this program administratively just as Bush did.
When Marco Rubio sought to find middle ground and introduce a new version of the DREAM Act, DREAM Activists and Democratic congressmen and senators were told not to talk with Rubio by the Obama administration, and soon afterwards came the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a ‘band aid’ approach to providing relief for deportation for DREAM eligible youth, was rolled out to undermine Senator Rubio’s efforts. DACA angered Republicans in Congress, who rightly felt Obama was circumventing Congress, and ended any hope of bipartisanship solutions during the present Congress. A lawsuit was filed by immigration agents and union leaders, which seems likely to prevail on some points. In the rush to implement DACA, the Obama administration’s failed to follow the rule making process mandated by federal law.
Though jobs and economy remain top issues with New Americans, immigration is important too, with Latinos in particular, since a large majority of Latinos are immigrants themselves, or first or second generation immigrants, and often empathize with unauthorized immigrants. Obama’s continued “fakery”, as evidenced by his omission of immigration reform in his economic plan though he has described immigration reform as an “economic imperative” speaks to Obama’s continued “immigration fakery.”
His opponent, Mitt Romney, supported Bush’s immigration reform bills, and has demonstrated the ability to reach across the aisle as governor of Massachusetts. If Obama is reelected, he’s welcome to surprise us by hitting the “reset” button with Congress, and on this issue we will work with anyone who will work with us, but so far Obama has done little to inspire confidence he can turn around his relationship with Congress. We cannot help but note Mitt Romney’s strong commitment to turning our economy around, and his immigration reform platform promises badly needed reforms in guest worker programs.
About Us – Cafe Con Leche Republicans is a national organization of Republicans who welcome “New Americans”, defined as immigrants and family of recent immigrants. Our mission is to make America and the GOP, more welcoming to “New Immigrants” through political activism, “in-reach” and education within the Republican Party, and lobbying government to adopt more immigrant friendly policies. We also seek to bring more conservative and moderate “New Americans” to the Republican Party. These efforts will strengthen the GOP, and lead more Republicans to embrace welcoming policies for immigrants and their families. We have members nationwide, with chapters in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, and California. Our members and leadership are predominantly Hispanic, though we define ourselves by mission and guiding principles, not ethnicity, and we welcome all who share our goals. Our leadership is 100% Republican.