President Obama brought up the need for Immigration Reform again during a speech in El Paso yesterday.  Ultimately, the border is more secure than it was during former Pres. Bush’s tenure AND what the President is proposing needs to take place.  Whether it actually will or not is another matter.

There are three major barriers to real comprehensive Immigration Reform and they all involve partisan politics.  Which means the partisans think they are fighting the good fight but they are really doing is digging ever deeper into a morass of bullshit and outright self-destruction.

First, let’s talk about the hole diggers on the left, which include the anti-Obots (e.g., FDL’rs, Greenwald Groupies,  Hamsherites) and the many Latino Pro-Reform activists, and, as always, the know it all pundits posing as “journalists” (who wouldn’t know how to do journalism if their lives depended on it).  While each of these groups have different motivations, some more noble than others, the effect of their shouting is the same.  While they might agree with the Presidents goals, they are exceedingly unhappy with his methods.  In fact, they are outright furious that Pres. Obama has once again laid out a proposal and expects the next move to be on the part of Congress.

These groups are saying that he is once again, like he did with DADT, with health care reform, etc, passing the buck and not using his Executive powers to their fullest extent.  Of course, all of the arguments against his using Executive fiat remain the same as with those other issues, these groups are acting as if the issue of Immigration Reform is somehow special and deserves different treatment than say, any and all of the OTHER progressive issues Pres. Obama has on his plate.

The reason these groups are hole diggers should be obvious.  On every other issue where they made this kind of stand, they were excluded from the process that actually resulted in reform.  Granted it might not have been the exact reform they wanted, but some reform did occur.**  In essence, they got their fees fees hurt over not getting what they wanted, when they wanted AND in the way they wanted it.  And like any loud, bratty child who disturbs the adults, they were removed from the big table to the small folding table in the corner.   To this group of hole diggers, all I have to say is “knock it off” if you want to be a part of the progress.  Otherwise, you are a distraction and that’s all you are.  Distraction is the last thing we need right now as a country and you aren’t doing yourselves or the country any favors.

The second group is what I like to call the “local color” and includes characters like Gov. Jan Brewer and Sen. Russell Pearce from AZ.  These are the folks who have spent an enormous amount of time and resources advocating for unconstitutional laws and policies such as SB1070.  This behavior, began like some kind of “bubons”, in Arizona and has since spread to other states like Nebraska, Indiana, Colorado, and Texas.  Meanwhile the states themselves are deeply in debt, facing record levels of unemployment and underemployment, staggeringly high foreclosure rates, falling housing prices and reduced tax bases.  All of which is being ignored so they can piss off the increasingly influential Hispanic community, fire up their own base and be a thorn in Pres. Obama’s side.***

So how is this group a barrier to wider Immigration Reform besides being an annoying distraction?  They are polluting the waters and polarizing people on the issue instead of unifying us as a single polity with shared problems.  They are wasting money and resources that could be used to come up with solutions and that could be spent on enforcing any federal policy.  Ultimately, we can’t have “comprehensive” reform if we have a patchwork of state laws with their own implementations.  It flies directly in the face of a Federal approach to begin with.

In regards to how they are digging their hole deeper all one has to do is consider the myriad of problems facing the state of Arizona to see that the state would be infinitely better off if these politicians actually dealt with those problem over which they have purview and stopped getting in the way of Federal reform. They too would have a seat at the table and could affect the outcome to the benefit of their state.  Right now, they are just another unruly child banned to the kiddie table.

The third group is, of course, Congress.  They’re the easiest one to explain. They run for election so frequently, particularly the House, that they are simply using reform as a political football.  If they’re in the GOP, they are firing up their base by arguing in pure reductionist fashion, “no amnesty” without addressing anything else.  If they’re Democratic they are either a DINO who spouts the same crap as GOP members or they are true Dems that are pushing for amnesty with little or no thought to enforcement.  No matter what their party affiliation, their motivation remains re-election.  However, none of them will really stick their necks out there and make the kind of compromises necessary to get to comprehensive reform.

Their cowardice is the barrier presented  by Congress (as it always is).  They will be digging their hole ever deeper because the Hispanic community will figure out that they aren’t sincere and never were, which may push this ever larger voting bloc further out to the extremes of the party.

Suffice it to say, none of the three acknowledge that their advocacy achieves anything but their stated goals.  In essence, they are not only digging a hole they might not be able to come out of in the long run, they are so deep they can’t even see daylight.

*IMHO Immigration Reform is a special issue near and dear to my heart.  However, I am not so narcissistic to believe that if I stamp my little feet and demand immediate action that anything will happen as a result.  Our system of government and the current players are what they are and they are going to do it their way.  At best we can affect the outcome but not the process to any great degree.

**To borrow a phrase from a well-known 12-step program, “it’s progress not perfection”

***i.e., their advocating for SB1070 in federal court uses a lot of federal resources too and should the Supreme Court rule in the AZ’s favor, then states will return to a position of power greater than they had even at our nation’s founding.


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