Illegal immigration is one of those big problems that America has to solve. Solving it will require a bipartisan agreement on how to keep the nation’s borders secure while keeping its doors open to immigrants who can add value to the economy and our communities.
That may not happen this year, in the run-up to a presidential election. But it will have to happen sometime.
President Barack Obama was no doubt playing to his political base when he went to El Paso, Texas, earlier this year for his first visit to the U.S.-Mexico border.
He was ostensibly there to restart the drive for comprehensive immigration reform. But this is what he had to say about the Republicans: “You know, they said we needed to triple the Border Patrol. Or now they’re going to say we need to quadruple the Border Patrol. Or they’ll want a higher fence. Maybe they’ll need a moat. Maybe they’ll want alligators in the moat.”
It got a good laugh from the campaign supporters in the crowd, many of whom later paid $50,000 a couple to dine with the president.
Certainly, sneering and jeering fires up the base. But, Obama neglected to explain why he didn’t push through immigration reform when Democrats had full control of Congress.
Perhaps the president sees immigration as a quintessential campaign issue that can be used to draw clear lines between the parties. That means little in the way of real reform can be expected until the year after the presidential election.
The Rome Sentinel, N.Y. (July 14)