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9th April
written by Sean Noble

White House officials are saying that Obama plans to tackle immigration this year after all.  Many Hispanic activists and lawmakers have not been shy lately about reminding Obama that he made promises to the Hispanic community during the campaign.  Those promises didn’t make much news, because the positions of the two candidates for President were pretty close to the same.

There are three things working against those who would like to see comprehensive immigration reform this year.  First, Obama continues to push a very aggressive agenda to deal with the financial crises – essentially trying to nationalize every industry he can get his hands on.  Second, with card check and cap-and-trade headed to the dust-bin of history, the last big agenda item near and dear to Obama’s heart is health care reform – in the form of more government involvement in every aspect of your health. Finally, as long as the economy is struggling and unemployment continues to rise, the argument for the need for more labor will ring hollow with more and more Americans.

My guess is that the only way immigration reform happens this year is if health care reform follows the same path as card check and cap-and-trade, because then Obama will be desperate for a legislative accomplishment.

I am a little surprised immigration reform didn’t make the “A” list of agenda items for Obama.  You would think with how hard the Democrats (and some Republicans) were pushing comprehensive reform for the last couple years that this needed to be done. Right. Now. 

With strong majorities in the House and Senate, I would think a comprehensive immigration bill would be a slam dunk.  So, maybe it’s being used as leverage for something else.  Only time will tell.

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  1. Carol

    If I remember correctly, the 2007 bill had two components that conservatives have wanted to see included for years –reprioritazation of visas toward employment based criteria and away from extended family based grounds and a touch-back provision which would have had the effect of exposing criminal aliens. It will be interesting to see what the Obama proposal does with these two issues.

  2. Zach

    The real problem with immigration is that it is lose lose. Everyone will not be happy with the outcome because there have to be drastic changes in beaurocracy and security. Plus, the people who really benefit (immigrants) can’t vote. On the other hand, Hugo Chavez and other totalitarians have taught us that catering to the poor in the form of giving them things for free (what’s a little economic viability, your income stays the same, it’s only the rich who pay) wins elections.

  3. 10/04/2009

    I don’t agree that immigration is a lose-lose issue (unless you mean that restricting immigration is lose-lose IMO).

    Preventing people (labor) from moving around makes as much sense as preventing money from moving around.

    If you want to read up on why less immigration restrictions is a good policy read Let Them In by Jason L. Riley.

    Even so I think that until the Democrats give up on the idea of compulsory welfare (including food stamps, free government education and hospital and health care mandates) that this issue is a loser as those people who don’t want to be forced to pay taxes for government welfare programs aren’t going to listen to any assurances immigration reformers offer.

    More freedom (to immigrate) won’t be accepted by voters unless there is a return to required responsibility (e.g. everybody pays their own way). Immigration reformers (and unabashed open borders folks) won’t find enough buyers for freedom unless a return to responsibility is in their platform.

    The resistance to (more) open immigration is government welfare.

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