The public relations campaign for President Obama's latest revival of "immigration reform" makes one thing crystal clear: This is not, and never has been, about homeland security. This is not, and never has been, about economic security. It's about political security, plain and cynical.
In conjunction with Tuesday's renewed White House push in Texas for a "new pathway to citizenship" for millions of illegal immigrants, disgruntled Latino activists are ratcheting up their radical anti-enforcement rhetoric. Illinois Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez -- a persistent critic on Obama's left flank -- lambasted federal workplace enforcement raids this weekend. On Sunday, he repeated his hyperbolic attacks on homeland security agents "terrorizing" neighborhoods and ripping babies from the breasts of nursing moms. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano made no public effort to defend her employees.
On campuses across the country, unhappy ethnic college student groups have turned up the heat on Democrats to resurrect the "DREAM Act" nightmare for the 12th time in a decade. The legislation -- persistently rejected by a bipartisan majority on Capitol Hill -- would provide illegal aliens (not just teenagers, but students up to age 35) federal education access and benefits, plus a conditional pass from deportation and a special path toward green cards and U.S. citizenship for themselves and unlimited relatives.
Obama argues that his comprehensive amnesty plan would boost America's bottom line. But the open-borders math doesn't add up. The Congressional Budget Office score of the last DREAM Act package estimates that "the bill would increase projected deficits by more than $5 billion in at least one of the four consecutive 10-year periods starting in 2021." And that doesn't include the costs of the unlimited family members the millions of DREAM Act beneficiaries would be able to bring to the U.S. A separate cost analysis by the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Immigration Studies concluded that the illegal alien DREAM Act bailout would cost taxpayers $6.2 billion a year and "crowd out" U.S. students in the classroom.
To help gloss over those sobering realities and blur the lines between legal and illegal immigration, Obama summoned Latino celebrities such as actresses Eva Longoria and Rosario Dawson. The starlets -- deemed important "stakeholders" in the immigration policy debate by the celebrity in chief -- have served as glamorous distractions from the vocal complaints of Southwest governors, ranchers, farmers and other victims of continued border chaos. These are the real stakeholders whose lives and livelihoods are at risk. But none had a seat at the Hollywood-filled table.
While proudly emphasizing her ethnic loyalties, Dawson (an outspoken critic of Arizona's immigration enforcement law) insists immigration reform "isn't just a Mexican" or Latino issue. But for more candid liberal strategists, the illegal alien amnesty bandwagon is nothing more than a tool to motivate current and future Latinos to protect the Democrats' grip on power. Eliseo Medina, secretary treasurer of Obama's deep-pocketed backers at the Service Employees International Union, laid out the stakes in an interview with MSNBC:
"Clearly with immigration reform and any other kind of reform that would benefit the Latino community, we have to make sure that our voices are heard in the ballot box. There are approximately 23 million Latinos that are eligible to vote, yet only 10 million voted in 2008."
SEIU's goal: "If we increase the turnout from 10 million to anywhere between 12 and 15 million, we're going to have an outsized impact on the election in 2012."
If, as widely expected, Obama fails to deliver amnesty through the legislative process, there's always amnesty by executive fiat. White House insiders first floated the idea in June 2010 to unilaterally extend either deferred action or parole to millions of illegal aliens in the United States. This administration has accomplished its major policy agenda items through force, fiat and fraud. Immigration will be no different.
Unfortunately for the law-abiding, there is no Hollywood-Washington-Big Labor lobby to speak for them. While Obama's homeland security officials hang their "mission accomplished" banner over the border, the feds have barely made a dent in the three-year naturalization application backlog or the 400,000-deportation fugitive problem.
Meanwhile, law enforcement witnesses told a House subcommittee last month that border smuggling has grown so out of control that federal prosecutors are simply declining to pursue cases. Cochise County, Arizona, Sheriff Larry Dever testified about the feds' so-called "Turn Back South" policy -- which includes lowering thresholds for drug and smuggling prosecutions, and permitting border-crossers at least seven strikes before being charged with immigration misdemeanors. And just last week, the General Accounting Office reported another massive 1.6 million illegal visa overstayers backlog -- a problem exposed by five of the 19 September 11 hijackers who benefited from systemic failure to enforce visa regulations.
So much for "never forget."