A number of political commentators, especially Western Europeans, find President Barack Obama's immigration policy as indecisive as his foreign policy and describe him as a pedestrian politician with a staff that is no better.
They find the Obama immigration policy, as with many of his policies, ambiguous.
The president and most congressional Democrats support comprehensive immigration reform, a tired topic based on multiculturalism.
Many Europeans do not concur. For instance, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated in October 2010 that multiculturalism is dead — a position shared by British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
During Merkel’s recent state visit to the White House, she gave no indication of a mind change. With many Europeans realizing that lax immigration policies are doing damage to their cultures, ethos, and social values, immigration regulations are being tightened from Norway to Spain. Meanwhile in the United States, Democrats have yet to get the word.
President Obama has yet to articulate his immigration vision other than to support the DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act). This legislation would provide free college tuition and U.S. citizenship to illegal alien minors and those up to 26 years of age.
Armed with citizenship, these “alien minors” then could apply under existing Family Reunification provisions to bring in extended family members, rendering the DREAM Act a form of back-door amnesty.
The president continues to speak of comprehensive immigration reform but in campaign-mode generalities. His recent speeches in Florida and Texas emphasized a fight for passage of the DREAM Act but mentioned comprehensive immigration reform with less enthusiasm.
As with his foreign policy and healthcare policy, the president appears to leave the details of immigration reform to congressional Democrats. Now that his party no longer has an overwhelming majority in the Senate and is demoted to minority status in the House, he can blame Congress for inaction on immigration.
During the first two years of his term, even with Democrats in charge on Capitol Hill, he was barely able to pass the Affordable Health Care Act, let alone comprehensive immigration reform.
Since the midterm elections, the president has had to face the burden of working with congressional Republicans, a political reality that he apparently does not cherish. He has even had to invite them to the White House.
In his El Paso, Texas, speech, he took a page from community organizer guru Saul Alinsky and mocked Congressional Republicans, questioning their motives and their ability to keep their word. In the same breath, he sought Republican help in passing immigration reform and repeated disingenuously that he seeks “constructive and civil debate” on immigration legislation.
At the same time, Obama brags that his administration has deported more illegal aliens in two years than President Bush did in eight.
Allegedly 391,348 illegal aliens were deported by the Obama administration in fiscal year 2010. The question remains, though, whether these were actual deportations or simply the mailing of deportation letters, often called “run letters” for that is precisely what most recipients do.
According to immigration court records, 1.1 million removal orders issued by U.S. immigration judges remain unexecuted. Meanwhile, a New York Times article (May 29, 2011) reported that, over the past two years, the Obama Justice Department has sharply reduced the number of criminal cases filed against unauthorized immigrant workers.
Not all immigration advocates are pleased with the mixed signals being sent by the Obama administration. Hispanic voters (citizens and noncitizens) are the voting bloc most concerned. Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), is among those seeking to remind Obama of his campaign pledges.
All in all, the president’s reception by Hispanic communities is less enthusiastic than it was two years ago, which may explain the flurry of White House meetings on immigration held in recent months. With the White House public relations apparatus in full campaign mode, comprehensive immigration reform is touted as a priority. Yet a do-what-we-say-and-not-what-we-do quality prevails.
Most U.S citizens are preoccupied with jobs, the debt crisis, and economic turmoil, but illegal immigration remains a related and pressing issue. Growing are the numbers of U.S. citizens who say no amnesty for illegals or drug cartels.
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