The flawed rollout of the Affordable Care Act has endangered another of President Barack Obama’s top agenda items: Immigration reform.
It’s forcing the White House and its allies to confront a basic, but politically potent, criticism. If the government can’t build a website, how can it be trusted to correctly process millions of undocumented immigrants and require every employer to verify the status of their workers?
The Senate bill would beef up border enforcement, expand the nation’s temporary worker program, and create legalization pathways for the estimated 11 million people who are in the country illegally. That may be now too much for Congress to handle, said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), both a lead co-sponsor of the Senate bill and leading Obamacare critic.
“It’s going to make it harder to sell big deals,” Graham said. “People are now saying, ‘So you’re gonna do immigration. You’re gonna let the same people manage the immigration system that’s managed Obamacare?’”
Incompetence is one issue that Obamacare has raised. There is another, deeper and more disturbing issue that Obamacare has also raised, and which Politico does not explore. That issue is how Obama’s government will implement any “reform” that gets passed.
Obama has illegally delayed key parts of Obamacare for his own political benefit and convenience. He has delayed mandates past elections, both the 2012 and 2014 elections. He has gotten away with it. There is no reason to believe that he would not do the same thing to any immigration law that passed. There is every reason to believe that he would do exactly that. The Democrats’ MO on immigration since the 1986 reform has been to promise security in exchange for amnesty, get the amnesty and scuttle security at the first opportunity. Obama’s record strongly suggests that he would only speed up the process of scuttling security and use any excuse to fast-track amnesty. Passing the Senate’s bill just gives him the excuse he needs.
Business interests in the GOP and race interests in the Democratic Party would be fine with that, make no mistake about it. Boehner, Graham, McCain, Ryan et al all have something in common with their counterparts on the Democratic side — none of them really prioritize security. Republicans want the issue of immigration reform off the table. Democrats want to mint millions of new voters, a majority of which will presumably vote Democrat.
Republicans have no reason to trust Obama on implementing any immigration reform. None. But they desperately want to pass something and trust him anyway.