As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Another Round On Immigration

The temperature on the immigration debate has cooled somewhat since it became a Dobbsian nightmare a couple years back. I think the President has the strength to push something through at this time, but of course there's so much else to be done. No matter - he's apparently ready to tackle it again.

hile acknowledging that the recession makes the political battle more difficult, President Obama plans to begin addressing the country’s immigration system this year, including looking for a path for illegal immigrants to become legal, a senior administration official said on Wednesday.

Mr. Obama will frame the new effort — likely to rouse passions on all sides of the highly divisive issue — as “policy reform that controls immigration and makes it an orderly system,” said the official, Cecilia Muñoz, deputy assistant to the president and director of intergovernmental affairs in the White House.

Mr. Obama plans to speak publicly about the issue in May, administration officials said, and over the summer he will convene working groups, including lawmakers from both parties and a range of immigration groups, to begin discussing possible legislation for as early as this fall.

One thing that argues in favor of addressing this is that immigration comes up as a familiar talking point on the right associated with any donestic policy. On health care, they talk about "free medical treatment for illegal immigrants." On education, "we're letting illegals into the schools." On infrastructure, "the only people who get those construction jobs are illegal immigrants." None of this is really all that true, but addressing the system and bringing people out of the shadows would defuse the talking point to an extent, though of course passing anything would be a major battle.

Ultimately, it's worth it, both to end the underground economy and to restore families. I wonder if the John McCains of the world, who in an earlier time had no problem backing some form of comprehensive immigration reform, would dare cross the lines of their increasingly nativist party. Demographically speaking, the Republican Party is dead unless they attract a bigger share of the Latino vote, and it always made sense to them to press for reform in this area. Just ask Karl Rove.

...Hopefully, Obama will seek advice from this Texas lawmaker and mandate changing Asian names to something “easier for Americans to deal with.” It's a melting pot!

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