It appears that President Obama will be gearing up soon to begin calling for a form of soft amnesty wrapped in an immigration reform bill. I think you’ll recall in the summer of 2007 when there was public outrage over the “shamneasty” bill supported by President Bush, Senator John McCain, and numerous others on both sides of the aisle. It went down in flames. Will Obama suffer the same fate?
The New York Times reports:
While acknowledging that the recession makes the political battle more difficult, President Barack Obama plans to begin addressing America’s immigration system this year, including looking for a path for illegal immigrants to become legal, a senior administration official said Wednesday.
Obama will frame the new effort — likely to rouse passions on all sides of the highly divisive issue — as “policy reform that controls immigration and makes it an orderly system,” said the official, Cecilia Munoz, deputy assistant to the president and director of intergovernmental affairs in the White House.
Obama plans to speak publicly about the issue in May, administration officials said, and over the summer he will convene working groups, including lawmakers from both parties and a range of immigration organizations, to begin discussing possible legislation for as early as this fall.
Some White House officials said immigration would not take precedence over the health care and energy proposals that Obama has identified as priorities. But the timetable is consistent with pledges that Obama made to Latino groups in last year’s campaign.
He said then that comprehensive immigration legislation, including a plan to make legal status possible for an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants, would be a priority in his first year in office. Latino voters turned out strongly for Obama in the election.
“He intends to start the debate
this year,” Munoz said.
But with the economy seriously ailing, advocates on different sides of the debate said immigration could become a polarizing issue for Obama in a year when he has many other major battles to fight.
Opponents, mainly Republicans, say they will seek to mobilize popular outrage against any effort to legalize unauthorized immigrant workers while so many Americans are out of jobs.
Democratic legislative aides said opening a full-fledged debate this year on immigration, particularly with health care as a looming priority, could weigh down the president’s domestic agenda.
The White House is calculating that public support for fixing the immigration system, which is widely acknowledged to be broken, will outweigh opposition from voters who argue that immigrants take jobs from Americans. A groundswell among voters opposed to legal status for illegal immigrants led to the defeat in 2007 of a bipartisan immigration bill that was strongly supported by President George W. Bush.
Administration officials said Obama’s plan would not add new workers to the American work force, but that it would recognize millions of illegal immigrants who have already been working in the United States.
Unless Obama goes out of his way to make this an “amnesty” where migrants must return to their home countries to apply for citizenship, this ain’t gonna happen. People won’t stand for rewarding illegal aliens with citizenship over immigrants who are playing by the rules and going through the legal process.
Think of it this way. The “tea parties” happening around the country will also encompass a call against amnesty and will be too much to bear for the administration.
Discuss below…. I know you will!