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Obama’s Immigration Policy: The Audacity of Manipulation

The president violates his own so-called moral imperatives.

by
Ruben Navarrette Jr.

Bio

May 30, 2011 - 12:00 am
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When it’s time to use the immigration issue to manipulate Latino voters, President Obama’s audacity knows no bounds. He will say or do just about anything to fool people into supporting him.

Indeed, curiously enough for someone who has never shown the slightest interest in immigration reform throughout his public service career — who, in the first 26 months of his presidency, put it so far on the back burner that it fell off the stove — Obama suddenly can’t stop talking about the subject.

Of course, the president is only bringing up immigration now because his poll numbers with Latinos have dropped: nearly half of those who support him say they aren’t likely to vote for him next year.

So he needs a cynical ploy that is intended to give Republicans a chance to behave boorishly. By the way, that’s pretty much how Republicans tend to behave when discussing immigration. Obama sets the trap, and Republicans walk right into it. We all know this is how it works.

Even so, Obama reached new heights in the audacity department with a recent speech at the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast and Conference in Washington. In trying to portray himself as an advocate for the Latino community, Obama quoted the Bible and declared that passing immigration reform is nothing less than a “moral imperative.”

Really? So does that make Obama “immoral” for helping to kill a bipartisan immigration reform bill while he was in the Senate in 2006 and 2007 — at the behest of organized labor, which opposed any plan that included guest workers? And what does it say about Obama’s morals that he has ignored immigration reform through much of his presidency, breaking his promise to Latino voters to make it a top priority?

As long as Obama is thinking about morality, what’s the verdict on his administration’s deportation, since he took office, of nearly 1 million people — about 1,000 people per day — to convince voters that the borders are secure? Or then lying about it by pretending that his administration is kinder and gentler than its Republican predecessor? How immoral is that?

And where’s the morality in Obama, just days earlier, going down to the U.S.-Mexico border at El Paso for a photo-op, and misrepresenting a whole slew of facts?

  • Obama said that, while in the Senate, he helped forge “a bipartisan coalition” to advance immigration reform. Actually, he undermined that coalition by helping to kill immigration reform with “poison pill” amendments.
  • He claimed Republicans killed the DREAM Act. They didn’t. Five Senate Democrats did — Jon Tester, Max Baucus, Mark Pryor, Kay Hagan, and Ben Nelson — when they bolted from party leaders and voted “no” on cloture.
  • He touted his administration’s focus on deporting “criminal aliens.” What focus? Obama himself admitted, a few seconds later, that those subject to removal include “families that are just trying to earn a living or bright, eager students or decent people with the best of intentions.”
  • He declared that the United States shouldn’t be “in the business of separating families.” That is precisely the business we’re in. The Obama administration separates thousands of families every month.

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