Playing Latinos for Pawns
Carol Platt Liebau
6/16/2012 8:05:45 AM - Carol Platt Liebau
Desperately flailing in his bid for re-election, the President hopes to sway votes in the Latino community (especially in states he needs like New Mexico and Colorado) by coming up with a half-baked extralegal plan
that -- depending on how one looks at it -- is either nothing at all, or else constitutes a big impediment to reaching a permanent, legislative solution on how to address the illegal immigration crisis in this country.
How is the plan nothing at all? Well, how many young people under 30 who meet all the criteria set out by the President yesterday are actually being pursued and deported? I would wager not many.
And so now, the President is willing to give them work permits. That might mean a little more if unemployment among young people weren't at historically high levels -- approximately 16% among those 25 and under
Now, he's simply creating more competition in an already suffering cohort of the labor market . . . after having failed to demonstrate the leadership to spearhead a serious, meaningful immigration reform bill despite having had two years of an overwhelming Democrat majority in which he could have done so (and during a term in which he has broken repeated promises to do so; apparently, the pledge to get on it first thing next term
wasn't enough! ). Instead, he pursued massively unpopular ObamaCare.
On the other hand, how is the plan an impediment? As this LA Times story makes clear, the President's idea came in response to pleas from Democrat senators
-- who realized that Republican Marco Rubio was putting together a real legislative solution that could address the crisis. Having him do so was a political nightmare for the Democrats, who are hoping to cement the Latino vote by handing out tokens like this one while accusing the Republicans of being anti-Latino.
Thus, rather than working with Rubio to hammer out legislation that would have addressed the problem in a serious, permanent way -- and truly benefited Latinos -- the President chose instead the path that would benefit himself and his allies politically. It also helps to poison the water for any real and lasting reform, to the detriment of those who need it most.
(Of course, this analysis sets aside the President's unconscionable arrogation of power that he himself has acknowledged is not his to take
-- a shameful and desperate move inimical to the long-term health of our republic and its separation of powers.)
Let us hope that Latinos understand that the President has done little to advance their real long-term interests -- that, in fact, he has been hoping to hoodwink them, and willing to make them pawns to further his own electoral prospects at their ultimate expense.
The contrast is striking: President Reagan believed there was no limit to what could be achieved if you don't care who gets the credit. President Obama doesn't care if anything is achieved so long as he can claim whatever credit there is.