Barack Obama Holds Immigration Dog And Pony Show With Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Bloomberg, But No Members of Congress
President Barack Obama is hosting a meeting to outline his views on immigration reform this afternoon with top cabinet officials and national politicians, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the Reverend Al Sharpton -- but no members of congress are expected to attend.
In other words, it's a dog and pony show meant to trick Latinos into believing the Obama Administration prioritizes "immigration reform," even if the White House press release isn't exactly clear on what that actually means.
Obama's press release is full of archaic sentences about the president's "vision for fixing the broken immigration system through common-sense, comprehensive immigration reform grounded in the principles of responsibility and accountability," which is all fine and dandy except that there is no plan to "fix" the "broken immigration system" through "common-sense, comprehensive immigration reform grounded in the principles of responsibility and accountability."
Republicans are against any immigration legislation beyond border security. Obama isn't willing to push them harder. That's the situation that will allow the status quo to reign for the foreseeable future.
The rest of Obama's press release isn't much more sensible. Obama spends much of it babbling about border security, claiming that "the borders" -- let's be clear, he's really only talking about the one we share with Mexico -- are "more secure than at any time in the past several decades. However, the Administration continues to refine and strengthen its strategy. Enforcement resources should be increased where appropriate and focused on stopping potential terrorists and others who would do our nation harm."
He says he wants to hold businesses that hire illegals accountable for their actions, that he wants to increase our "unprecedented" number of Border Patrol "boots on the ground," and that he is devoting more resources to enforcement.
For those of you looking for Obama to take a stand on behalf of those immigrants who are already here and live amongst us, Obama doesn't give much. In the press release, he demands:
Those people living here illegally must also be held accountable for getting on the right side of the law, by admitting they broke the law, paying taxes and a penalty, learning English before they can get in line to become legalized and citizens. Being a citizen of this country comes not only with rights but also with fundamental responsibilities. We can create a pathway for legal status that is fair, and reflects of our values. Strengthen economic competiveness by creating a legal immigration system that meets our diverse needs: Our immigration laws should encourage high-skilled individuals we train in our world-class institutions of higher education to stay in the United States and create jobs, stop punishing innocent young people for their parents' actions by denying children the chance to earn an education or join the military so they can earn higher wages and generate more tax revenues, provide farmers a legal way to hire the workers they rely on, and should respect families following the rules.
Notice that there isn't a single word about what this new "legal immigration system that meets our diverse needs" looks like. In fact, he spends more time suggesting that Mexicans need to learn how to speak English than he does explaining what he wants to do to help solve their problems.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.