Obama immigration reform proposal lands on table like dead fishby Hugh Holub on May. 11, 2011, under immigration law reform, politics
President Obama made a major speech on immigration reform May 10th in El Paso, and released his blueprint for 21st century immigration reform.
It landed like a dead fish thrown on the table.
Juan Gonzales,, columnist for the New York Daily News:
President Obama said all the right things in El Paso on Tuesday about the need to fix the country’s immigration system, while lauding the progress he’d made in controlling the border.
But when the soaring rhetoric was done, Obama closed with a weak punt of immigration reform back to Congress.
Yes We Can turned into No I Can’t.
He refused to do what many Latino leaders have urged for months. He rejected using executive powers to soften the worst aspects of the government’s crackdown on the nation’s 11 million undocumented residents.
He turned his back on 1 million young people known as the DREAMERS. They are the high school and college kids brought to this country illegally by their parents. Having known no other home than the U.S., they face deportation at any moment and can’t legally find work.
Joe Garofoli San Francisco Chronicle:
Standing near the U.S.-Mexico border Tuesday, President Obama made his self-described “big policy speech” on immigration reform. But it didn’t offer new proposals, didn’t say legislation was coming and didn’t explain how he would win over a skeptical GOP-led House.
If Obama’s fourth immigration-related event in the past month was meant to appeal to the pivotal Latino voting bloc he needs to be re-elected, he should know that “Latino voters are very smart,” said Gloria Montano Greene, Washington, D.C., director for the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.
“A speech is not going to do it,” she said. “They want to see action.”
While Montano Greene nonetheless praised Obama for “keeping immigration in the forefront,” others were skeptical that Tuesday’s event was little more than a campaign stop. Obama did not vigorously push for immigration reform – a promise he made to Latino voters – even when Democrats had congressional majorities during his first two years.
Cynthia Tucker Atlanta Journal Constitution
Apparently believing that conservatives would support a comprehensive bill if they were reassured about border protections, Obama has sent National Guard troops and drone surveillance aircraft to the Southern boundary. He hired more border agents. He has pursued an aggressive policy of deportations — rounding up more illegal immigrants than his predecessor.
But the hostility toward illegal immigrants isn’t based on any rational fear of cross-border narco-violence or jihadist-inspired terrorism. It’s based on deep-seated prejudices stoked by a faltering economy and an increasingly diverse population. Many native-born Americans wrongly believe that illegal workers have sapped our strength, reversed our economic fortunes and set us on a course toward decline. But let’s not kid ourselves: We aren’t prepared to grant legal status even to those who are ambitious, resourceful and hardworking — who would give to the country a great deal more than they would take from it.
Editorial Washington Post:
Mr. Obama’s description of the problem was accurate, and his prescription the right one: a “good-faith effort” by both parties to pass comprehensive measures that combine border security with assimilation, not mass expulsion, for illegal immigrants who qualify.
To move things forward, Mr. Obama will have to do a lot more. He needs to outline legislation, push Congressional leaders — including those in his own party — to back it and make the case repeatedly to Americans.
The president also needs to get his own policies in order. For all his talk of supporting the hopes of the undocumented, his administration has been doubling down on the failed strategy of mass expulsion. It is pressing state and local police to join in an ill-conceived program called Secure Communities, which sends arrested people’s fingerprints through federal immigration databases, turning all local officers and jails into arms of the Department of Homeland Security.
Many lawmakers and police agencies say it erodes public safety by making immigrants, especially victims of domestic violence, afraid to report crimes. They worry about giving rogue officers a convenient tool for racial profiling. And they feel betrayed because what the administration once billed as a transparent, voluntary program aimed only at dangerous convicted criminals turns out to be none of those things. The Homeland Security Department’s own data show that more than half of those deported under the program have no criminal records or committed only minor crimes.
Mr. Obama and the homeland security secretary, Janet Napolitano, should heed the growing calls by lawmakers in California, Illinois, New York and other places to abandon Secure Communities to preserve public safety.
As for the broader issue of immigration reform, Mr. Obama’s aides insisted on Tuesday that he did, indeed, have a plan that interested Americans could read on the White House Web site. If Mr. Obama is really committed to this issue it’s going to take a lot more than that.
Jennifer Bendery Huffington Post:
Even this sort of positive take noted Obama’s proposal was DOA to the GOP:
In his first visit to the U.S.-Mexico border since becoming president, Obama said his administration has “gone above and beyond” what Republicans have demanded on border security in exchange for their support on broader immigration reform, but to no avail.
“Even though we’ve answered these concerns, I’ve got to say, I suspect there are still going to be some who are trying to move the goal posts on us one more time,” he said. “They said we needed to triple the Border Patrol. Or now they’re going to say we need to quadruple the Border Patrol. Or they’ll want a higher fence.”
“Maybe they’ll need a moat. Maybe they want alligators in the moat,” Obama said to laughter. “They’ll never be satisfied. And I understand that. That’s politics.”
In reality, said the president, his administration has put more boots on the ground at the southwest border than at any time in our history. “So the question is whether those in Congress who previously walked away in the name of enforcement are now ready to come back to the table and finish the work we’ve started,” he said.
But Senate Republicans who have played a key role in past immigration reform talks grumbled that Obama’s latest moves on the issue are less about policy and more about the 2012 elections.
“I’m afraid this is probably more political theater than reality,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), arguably the White House’s best hope for a GOP ally on immigration reform legislation, said of the president’s speech.
My Comment: The Obama “blueprint” looks like a campaign brochure complete with lots of pictures of Obama in action.
The problem is there is really nothing new and the whole scheme depends on folks buying that Obama has secured the border and now it is time to pass immigration reform which still looks a lot like amnesty to many.
There is not going to be immigration reform until the border is secure.
The problem is Obama is relying on Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and her magic bag of statistics to justify a more secure border.
As Senator John McCain pointed out recently, the border is not secure when there are drug cartel spotters sitting on mountain tops in Arizona guiding loads of drugs and caravans of illegal immigrants around the Border Patrol’s scattered deployment.
The GAO reported a large area of the border still was not under “operational control” and that includes the area west of Nogales and a large portion of the Texas border.
The core problem for Obama is he is trusting Napolitano to guide US border security strategy, and Napolitano is trusting an embedded Border Patrol bureacracy to secure the border. Unfortunately for Obama there are a lot of retired Border Patrol agents pointing out nasty little truths like DHS is cooking the books on apprehensions by looking the other way when encountering illegal aliens.
Obama’s problems with border security go even farther into the hole with the ATF “gunwalker” scandal. Letting thousands of guns get “walked” into the hands of the Mexican drug cartels is not a pretty picture. With two of those “walked” guns ending up at the murder scene of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, the ATF has blood on their hands. Rather than clean out the entire mess in ATF and at the Department of Justice, Obama’s team is busy trying to cover up the scandal and burn the lowets level people they can to escape responsibility for a really botched law enforcement effort.
If cooking the books on border apprehensions and allowing guns to “walk” into the hands of the drug cartels was not enough, the highly touted program to deport criminal aliens via ICE is another failed border security effort.
Instead of actually deporting real criminals, the ICE effort is a federal version of Joe Arpaio’s infamous sweeps in front of Home Depots, grabbing anyone and everyone they can deport to pad the statistics.
Again, Obama is trusting his down-the-line command structure to make it look like he is tough on the border when in fact he has a lot of managers in the chain-of-command who are playing a smoke and mirrors game to make things look a lot better than they really are.
All this relies on statistics…the border is more secure because the statistics show it is…which avoids the reality that there are serious flaws in securing the border and the danger…especially from cartel drug smugglers..is growing.
In an ideal world Obama would do what the GOP has done…get down on the border without Border Patrol and DHS handlers and see for himself what is going on. However no way would the Secret Service allow Obama to take a ride with a bunch of ranchers into California Gulch without massive security wrapped around him because probably Afghanistan is safer than parts of southern Arizona.
It would seem the effort to show how tough he is about border security is Obama’s ploy to get the GOP to back off and consider immigration law reform which would secure lots of Latino votes for Obama in 2012.
The GOP is not buying Napolitano’s border security claims, and Latinos are frustrated because of the failure of the Dream Act last year and the absence of any serious proposal for immigration law reform that can even get 100% support from border Democrats let alone any Republicans.
One problem is there is virtually no Latino voice in favor of border security and helping to define what “securing the border” really means. It has not dawned on Latino political leaders that stopping the flood of illegal immigrants is in their best interest to be able to confront the nasty question about what to do with 11 million illegal aliens already in the country.
Just for an example…I’d love to see Latino political leaders support something like my “probationary presence” approach to how to resolve the status of illegal aliens already in the country.
Unfortunately the Latino political leadership comes across looking like they advocate open borders and a free ride for those who entered the country illegally and that is going exactly nowhere politically in this country.
Obama can’t win this fight with his current border security team and with Latino leaders demanding what is impossible….
Arizona Sheriffs Babeu and Dever call Obama immigration proposal “amnesty”