In their latest issue-by-issue compare and contrast of the 2012 presidential race between Barack Hussein Obama and Willard (“Call me Mitt”) Romney, the Christian Science Monitor concludes that, “Immigration could be a pivotal issue in the 2012 presidential race, and Barack Obama knows it.” It quotes Steven Schier, political scientist at Carleton College in Northfield, MN, that a “strong Latino turnout is critical to Obama’s victory and a successful exploitation of the immigration issue by his campaign could ensure a second term in the White House.”
Their analysis demonstrates how “Obama is seeking to press his advantage among Latino voters, particularly in swing states like Colorado and Nevada, which could prove crucial in November” because polls suggest over 70 percent of Latinos prefer him, while “Romney has tried to cast himself somewhere between the staunchest anti-illegal immigration activists of his party and Obama.
Note that even CSM, which has historically provided relatively objective reporting, even on “controversial” issues such as the Mid East and immigration, feels compelled to apply the label “staunchest” to those who seek to limit even illegal immigration, but not to those who support even the most pro- (up to and including illegal) immigration.
CSM then goes on to list 5 ways Obama and Romney differ on immigration, which turn out to be differences without much, if any, distinction.
- Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Obama tells his receptive minority audiences that he voted for the 2007 Comprehensive Immigration Act sponsored by (the late) Democrat Senator Ted Kennedy, Republican Senator John McCain, and then Republican President George W. Bush. He goes on that his continued attempts to enact it have been hamstrung by the obstructionist Republican Congress (time to turn those White folks out). The Act would have “provided a path to citizenship” for (an estimated) 12- to 20-million illegals, establish a two-year guest-worker program, while also adding 200,00 border patrol agents (read more federal workers), building 370 miles of fence (read more federal spending) and “revamp” the federal employment-verification system.
After Arizona, frustrated by the failure of the White House, regardless of party of occupant, passed its own anti-illegal immigration bill in 2010, Obama tried to turn the issue to his advantage by claiming that if only the Congress passed that Kennedy-McCain bill, the problem would go away — and so should the Arizona law. He told the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) that the lack of immigration ‘reform’ at the Federal level “has given rise to a patchwork of state laws that cause more problems than they solve and are often doing more harm than good.” (Translation – “No matter how bad things are, don’t dare try to fix this for yourselves. Only the Feds can fix it and we’ll do it the way we want it).
And what would Mormon Bishop Mitt, son of George Romney, born in a polygynist Mormon colony down Chihuahua, Mexico way do about Comprehensive Immigration Reform if he assumes the Oval Office? He’s all for implementing it, just in a different way than Obama. The Bain Capital vulture capitalist prefers to put immigration “in an economic context with changes designed to help American business.” How? By working “with the states and employers to update our temporary-worker visa program so that it meets our economic needs” he told NALEO. He went on that, “if you get an advanced degree here, we want you to stay here. So I’d staple a green card to the diploma of someone who gets an advanced degree in America.”
Note, plutocrat Romney is concerned about American business, not American workers, or just plain old Americans.
- The DREAM Act. DREAM stands for the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors. It might better be called the ECT Act for “El Caballo Troyano.” Pro-immigration advocates see it as ‘an interim step’ that can be passed into law before they obtain the legislative and executive support to ratchet up to the whole big enchilada of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform. DREAM would provide conditional permanent residency (however the Courts would decide to interpret that – particularly as regards the ‘daisy chaining’ of family members) to illegal residents who were brought into the U.S. as minors and are now pursuing an education or serving in the military.
When Senate Republicans blocked the DREAM Act in 2007, Obama trumped them by issuing and Executive Order that called on immigrations officials to grant “deportation deferrals” to illegals who fit the criteria of the Act. While not being granted citizenship, DREAMers are allowed to get work permits, driver’s licenses, and college tuition help. (How many Majority young people could use some help, especially since Affirmative Action so often blocks their entrance?)
While Romney said he would veto the DREAM Act, his campaign handlers are quick to add that his position is “evolving” (read “selling out”). Instead of “a pathway to citizenship”, Romney favors “a pathway to simple legal status.”
- Deportation. According to CSM, the aforementioned Obama “DREAM Act lite” executive order “marks the latest and most dramatic attempt by the White House to limit deportations. While immigration agents have been directed to use discretion, they may not all be listening. Officially, at least, “the Obama administration has deported more illegal immigrants in its first three years –1.1 million — than any administration since the 1950s.” (Actually, it’s a lie.)
Romney argues for “self-deportation,” the point where “people decide they can do better by going home because they can’t find work here because they don’t have the legal documentation to allow them to work here.” He adds as a sop, “We’re not going to round them up.” One can only wonder if Romney has ever driven past a HomeDepot or similar building supply store and seen the queues of almost exclusively minority and most likely illegal individuals seeking day labor. Then again, it’s unlikely there are many HomeDepots along the routes Romney travels or, that even if there were, he could see them out of the tinted glass windows of his limousines.
- The Border Fence. The border fence between the U.S. and Mexico is “now basically complete,” or so said Obama in a speech promoting “comprehensive immigration reform” delivered in El Paso, TX in 2011. It depends on how one interprets “basically.” The watchdog group Politifact tagged it as being “barely true” rather than “basically true” because only 36 of 649 miles of fencing could be considered sturdy. Then in January of that year, the Obama Administration ended the Bush so-called “high tech” border fence project, complete with state-of-the-art sensors and cameras, that cost $1 billion.
Romney says he favors a stronger border fence and cites a February 2012 report by the General Accounting Office that, “just 44 percent of the 2,000-mile-long border is under operational control, and just 15 percent is totally controlled.” Waving political ‘carne rojo’ before his Latino audience, Obama retorted, “Maybe they’ll need a moat. Maybe they’ll want alligators in the moat.”
- Sanctions for Hiring Illegal Immigrants. Not wanting to anger those Latino voters – they won’t vote for Romney, but they might just take a siesta on November 6th – the Obama administration has increasingly gone after the employers of illegal immigrants with tough charges and heavy fines , rather than the illegals themselves.
Romney, to his credit, has praised Arizona’s use of the E-Verify federal database to catch illegals before they go to work – at least in the aboveground economy. And E-Verify works! A study by the Public Policy Institute of California found that it was responsible for 17%—about 92,000—illegal workers leaving good old Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s state in one year.
While Obama acknowledged the effectiveness of E-Verify he was quick to offer his own sop, not only to his Latino base but also to “civil libertarians” (a disproportionately Jewish voting group) noting that he “shared their concerns” about a system which employers “can’t be certain works.” Really? A 2011 GAO report documented that E-Verify correctly confirmed the eligibility of 97.4 percent of employees checked in fiscal year 2009. How many Federal programs can match that level of accuracy?
So much for the explicit statements of the candidates. But politics is also about implicit symbols, identification, and false identification. And, of course, the bureaucrats often makes policy. The tragedy is that today’s America seems largely devoid of policy, personnel, and most of all, identity – at least for White folks.