Thursday, April 22, 2010

Immigration reform and tea leaves

The Obama administration has sent out all sorts of sometimes contradictory signals on immigration reform.  As summer creeps closer and closer, the president will have to make a decision one way or the other.  To push or not to push.  Peter Nicholas at the L.A. Times writes that Obama just doesn't know what to do:

Immigration advocates who meet regularly with White House officials said the Obama administration had been considering several approaches, including convening a summit meeting devoted to the issue and putting forward its own bill. Those who attended a session Friday with administration officials said they came away with no indication the White House had settled on a course of action.
This is particularly unfortunate because everyone knew immigration was going to be a controversial but necessary issue to tackle.  As the health care bill floundered for a while, it was also clear that immigration would require Obama to push very hard (and twist some congressional arms) if he wanted it done in 2010.  There has been plenty of time to think about what to do.

Obama apparently also wants Congress to take the lead, which is not far from saying the bill is dead.  In 2006 and 2007, immigration reform died in part because George W. Bush gave lip service but showed no interest in using whatever political capital he might have had.


Boli-Nica 2:19 PM  

as a tactical matter - in terms of ensuring that enough democrats are reelected in November - it is probably better that Obama back off for this year, and make sure that reforms of the financial sector pass first. From that perspective, it is better to let the Republicans drown themselves by trying to obstruct reform of the financial regulations system, and come across as big business suck-ups. Immigration reform,, on the other hand, leaves a lot of ground for the wingnuts to play the issue in the media to the dems detriment

Ken 3:22 PM  

@Boli-Nica: financial reform is either going to be a done deal this week or a cudgel for the Democrats to use against the Republicans from now until November. So, the deck is clear for another major initiative and I would argue that tactically, immigration is exactly the issue Democrats should push because it exacerbates the split in the GOP between Tea Partiers and, um, more prudent elements. It is also a winning issue for the Democrats in a couple of tough Senate races, including Reid's race in NV. Beyond the political tactics, reforming immigration is good policy and the right thing to do.

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