Monday, March 16, 2015

EXTRA: Who cares what issue you ask about? I’ll say what I want to say!

It never fails to amuse me the way in which political people can evade a question, particularly if they’re able to come up with an answer that takes a pot shot at the opposition.

That’s certainly what happened during Monday night’s debate between Mayor Rahm Emanuel and challenger Jesus Garcia when a reporter-type person from WGBO-TV (the Univision affiliate) tried to inject immigration reform into the forum held by them and sister station WMAQ-TV.

THE QUESTION WAS to what degree the candidates would have the city provide financial support for a lawsuit meant to benefit those non-citizens who have lived the bulk of their lives locally, but can’t take advantage of in-state tuition rates to attend college.

Emanuel made a point of emphasizing the fact that his proposal to allow all Chicago Public School graduates with at least a “B” grade point average to attend a City Colleges of Chicago school free of charge (no tuition) would be applicable to those young people lacking U.S. citizenship.

No word about what those people are supposed to do once they complete the community college level and try to transfer to a four-year college. But Emanuel – often a target of Latino activists on immigration issues – tried to make it seem as though he offered something specific to those youth.

Garcia, however, rebutted by pointing out that Emanuel in his positions in the Clinton administration and as White House chief of staff under President Barack Obama guided those presidents from taking too much of a stand on immigration policies.

EMANUEL CERTAINLY WAS right that Republican opposition certainly would have jumped down the Clinton and Obama throats for pursuing such policies. Although it’s not like the lack of action made those officials any GOP allies.

I don’t know if I agree with Garcia that if Emanuel had been more aggressive in pursuing immigration reform back then, we might not need some of the more drastic steps that Obama has since tried to implement via the executive order route.

But you have to admit that Garcia also managed to avoid the question that was put forth to the two politicos.

And none of us have any more specific knowledge of where the candidates stand on immigration policy than what we knew prior to the political debate.


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