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Dems Trying to Rewrite History on Immigration Reform

Harry Reid and President Obama want Hispanics to believe that it is Republicans who are obstructing immigration legislation, while it has been Democrats who have scuttled efforts at comprehensive reform.

by
Ruben Navarrette Jr.

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September 23, 2010 - 12:00 am
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During the lead-up to the November elections, some fairly prominent Democrats are frantically rewriting history and trying to portray themselves as friends to the Latino community on immigration reform.

But a more careful and truthful reading of the facts should make one thing plain to America’s largest minority: with friends like these, who needs Republicans?

* Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told a gathering of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute that the blame for the fact that there has been no action on a comprehensive immigration reform bill lies squarely with Republicans. Napolitano accused Republicans in Congress of acting in bad faith and “moving goal posts” by saying they want to secure the border and then failing to give the administration credit for doing just that.

Here, the secretary actually makes a good point that there’s a big difference between securing the border (what Republicans say they want) and sealing the border (what they seem to really want); one can be accomplished, the other can’t. Then, Napolitano urged Latinos to turn out and vote their displeasure in November.

“Your voice is your vote, man,” Napolitano told the mostly Hispanic group. “Your vote is the currency this town lives on.”

* A few days later, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that he plans to add the DREAM Act to a defense policy bill that the Senate is scheduled to take up. The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act was originally proposed in 2000 by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind. The bill targets young people in the country illegally, offering them “conditional permanent residency” if they came before they were 16 and if they attend college or serve in the military. Once they graduate or complete their enlistment, they would get permanent legal residency with a chance to eventually apply for U.S. citizenship. Reid framed the issue as settling for half a loaf since Republicans wouldn’t give up the whole thing.

”I know we can’t do comprehensive immigration reform,” Reid said at a news conference. “But those Republicans we had in the last Congress have left us.”

* The day after those remarks, President Barack Obama appealed to a Hispanic audience to support Democratic candidates in the November elections despite the fact that he failed to keep his promise to pass an immigration overhaul — or even make it the top priority he pledged he would while campaigning for president. “You have every right to keep the heat on me and the Democrats, and I hope you do. That’s how our political process works,”

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