Saturday, November 22, 2014

Obama trying to rally support for ‘done deal’ on immigration reform

It will be interesting to see what happens next week in Chicago when President Barack Obama comes to meet with assorted activists and groups with an interest in immigration reform.

White House officials say that Obama, who was in Las Vegas, Nev., on Friday to officially sign the executive order that implements his reforms at an area high school with a high percentage of Latino students, then plans to travel to Chicago.

HE’S GOING TO have Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., with him, which is good because Gutierrez has been outspoken on this issue for years. With Luis at his side, it will be less likely that activist-types will be inclined to question Obama about what took him so long to act on the immigration issue.

Officials aren’t offering much in the way of specifics; other than saying it will happen on Tuesday. We don’t know who he’s talking to, or what exactly he plans to say.

Only that he’s trying to talk up immigration reform – he’s likely to be making appearances all across the country to try to convince the apathetic amongst us that this is a long-overdue move.

Not that there’s going to be any swaying of the ideologue-inspired. The people who have opposed any serious revision to national immigration policy are going to be so hard-core in opposition that they’re spouting out a line of rhetoric meant to spin the public into believing that Obama’s immigration reform goals border on criminal and that everybody ought to share their hatred!

WHICH IS THE only reason Obama feels a need to go public with trying to sway the population about the proprietary nature of his immigration proposal.

There’s no practical reason he ought to do anything.

After all, everything Obama proposed this week in the way of making it possible for just under half of the estimated 11 million non-citizens living in this country without a valid visa is now in place.

The point of executive orders is that they take effect immediately upon the president’s decision – and remain until a future president chooses to repeal them.

YOU JUST KNOW that at least one (if not more) of the Republican candidates seeking the party’s nomination for president in 2016 will campaign actively and openly on the promise that his first act upon being elected will be to repeal the Obama immigration reform order.

By going out publicly to explain his order in great detail, Obama ensures that a significant segment of the electorate will realize that candidate (whoever he turns out to be) is merely spouting off rhetorical nonsense – rather than saying anything that ought to be taken seriously. Even though some are going to argue that he did things backward by seeking support after acting.

So will the Obama immigration policy tour achieve that goal? Or is he merely going to manage to tick off the ideologues even more than they already are with anything Obama has done since he had the nerve (in their minds) to even run for president?

If it comes across like I see this as a purely partisan fight with no real policy implications, you’d be correct. This is one of those issues where most people already have made up their minds, and the presidential opponents are trying to dominate the debate.

IT ALMOST REMINDS me of that baseball cliché about the true significance of a manager to the team – that he’s there to keep the five guys on the team who hate the manager from convincing everybody else on the team that their right about him.

So come Tuesday, and possibly in the days leading up to and after it, we’re going to hear more about this issue. Immigration reform is still long-overdue. There are still individuals in our society forced into the shadows because only a revamp approved by Congress and the president working together would resolve their situation.

For those who think it appropriate that Obama gave his approval of an executive order in Las Vegas because he’s gambling the country won’t turn on him, I’d argue that the gamble would have been if he thought he could get away without doing anything on the issue.


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