Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Obama gets an 'F' for effort on Immigration Reform

I just read an article published in the L.A. Times about President Obama speaking on Spanish language radio defending his failed immigration efforts.  The first thing that immediately came to mind is, what efforts? The second thing that came to mind is, what is there to defend?

Obama's tried and true immigration reform strategy has been to blame Republicans while deporting more immigrants over a two-year period than any President in the history of the United States.  It appears that President Obama wants your vote this November, just not your undocumented relative.

President Obama likes to blame Republicans for the lack of immigration reform when in reality he has literally done nothing in two-years to even try to get immigration reform passed.   In fact, President Obama broke his immigration reform campaign promises the moment he unpacked his bags in the White House.

All of the heavy lifting has been done by people like Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill) who introduced his own immigration reform bill on December 15, 2009, as a result of the President's inaction.  To date, President Obama hasn't even gone so far as to promote or publicly support the bill that was introduced by a Representative from his home city of Chicago.  Some effort.

The President needs to stop saying all the right things, and doing all the wrong things, or on the immigration reform front doing nothing.  I would really like to see some actual "effort" from this President.  He can start by being a champion to millions of Americans by immediately saving their families from destruction by his own administration's 400,000 deportations per year quota. Not the Republicans' quota... the Obama administration's quota.

President Obama can also start by framing the immigration reform message properly. Stop adopting Republican talking points about securing our borders, and start talking about the economic benefit that immigration reform would have on our country.  Debunk the slanderous Republican accusations that immigrants increase crime, and show them the studies that immigration actually reduces crime. He can also stop wasting our resources by criminally prosecuting immigrants for relatively minor immigration violations.  It is simply unfathomable that 50% of all federal criminal prosecutions are for relatively minor immigration violations.

More pressingly, this President needs to clean up the abuses occurring in his immigration detention system, and ensure that immigrants are afforded due process by eliminating dirty immigration judges, and unprofessional government lawyers.

In short, Mr. President, you weren't elected to make excuses. You were elected to get the job done.  This is the type of "effort" that was expected of you, not empty rhetoric, finger pointing, and pandering.

Maybe after we are looking back on the second half of your first term we can say that you actually rolled up your sleeves and put in the hard work required to reform our beyond broken immigration laws, but as it stands right now Mr. President, you get an 'F' for effort.

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