Nov 27, 2013

A Liberal Citizen to President Obama: Push for Immigration Reform Now!

President Obama latest staged speech on immigration was interrupted by an attendee who yelled, "our families are separated," referring to the record deportations under the current president. Obama gave a b.s. answer that he has to follow the law, and that he still needs the immigrant communities behind him to change the status quo. He's obviously playing a political card in order to keep up the support these people have overwhelmingly given him and the Democrats.  But, it's his timid and ineffectual approach that hasn't changed the status quo.

Mr. president, he law is broken, the whole immigration legal framework is broken, plus any law that is applied without discretion is probably an unjust law. You have applied other laws with prudence and restraint, like when you decided that the feds wouldn't harass the citizens of states who have legalized marijuana--against federal law.

If there's no criminal conviction, the deportation of parents of US citizens (children born here to undocumented immigrants) is unconscionable, as the deportation of many others who have roots and are productive in their communities. It's a shame that we--most of the blame goes to the irascible Republicans in the House--haven't passed the DREAM act and legalize those children who were brought in the US without a visa but this is the only country they know. On this, the president issued an executive order to stop the deportation of these children or those who were brought into the country as children. So, why did he do that?...  [The Immigration Policy Center is definitely worth a look as it has a comprehensive, issue-by-issue, approach to immigration in the US]

So, Mr. President show some leadership and get comprehensive immigration reform passed. Stop repeating the same mistakes. In 2008, you ran on a universal/public option for health care. Once elected by a landslide you wasted over a year by delegating to Congress. Seriously? Not only you lost the momentum and wasted your political capital, but in the end we got a flawed system. Yes, it's better than the current one, but it could (yes, we could!) have been much better by extending Medicare to all. 

It's mind boggling that his signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act, was so clumsy implemented. He knew the opposition has been shredding the ACA from the moment it was proposed; there was no luxury for having this kind of problems today. He made it so  much harder for many Dems and progressives to support this flawed program. This doesn't help building momentum against the regressive Republicans, who had been battered from causing the government shutdown this Fall.

Last year, Mr. Obama won reelection handily. He had made immigration reform an important policy goal in his second term. What did he do then? He, again, delegated to Congress. Oh, yes, he threatened them that if they didn't do it, he would! Sure. Immigration reform, flawed and all, was passed in the Senate but died in the Republican House. 

At least there's good news for those who prefer to lead from the rear. A majority of Americans now not only favor immigration reform but also a path to citizenship for the undocumented.