How many rejections does it take before the political reality sets in?
Despite promising in no uncertain terms that he would take action on immigration policy in the absence of congressional legislation, merely three months ago, President Obama backtracked.
Honestly, given the president’s record on immigration reform, why did any immigrant rights activist expect anything different?
The handwriting was on the wall a few weeks weeks ago, when it was announced the president was thinking about delaying executive action to defer deportations of non-violent and non-criminal undocumented immigrants.
At that point, the die was cast.
As a green card and permanent residence lawyer, I have closely watched legislative and administrative actions for several years. The fates of many immigrants and their families are at stake.
Broken promise after broken promise has eroded hope, making it difficult to keep the spirits of potential clients high during the past six years of Obama’s immigration roller-coaster ride.
After all, actions speak louder than words.
And the president’s actions have not been encouraging for immigrants.
Even if the president acts on immigration issues after the elections, the changes are not likely to meet the family unification needs of immigrants trying to keep their families intact.
The problem is related to our election system.
In my view, breaking away from a dead-end reliance on the Democratic Party and the two-party system is critical for true immigration reform.
This outlook is not simply fueled by the president’s hide-and-seek immigration reform tactics or the use by both parties of immigrant families as election fodder.
It goes deeper.
In fact, it was predictable the Central American refugee crisis, coupled with the push for no more deportations and free legal assistance at government assistance was bound to swing the political pendulum in the opposite direction.
Most reform supporters thought I was just playing devil’s advocate.
The American public is fickle on immigration reform. A few triggering events here and there, and – poof! – the support for immigration reform dissipates.
When the winds start to shift, neither Democrat nor Republican legislators are going to hold their ground. This is one of the most stifling aspects of a two-party political system.
This means change – real change – will not occur even if and when the president acts.
Obama Will Delay Immigration Executive Action
Allen McDuffee, Yahoo News, September 6, 2014
President Barack Obama has abandoned his pledge for executive action on immigration near summer’s end, in what appears to be concern for Senate Democrats who are at risk this November.
Janet Murguía, National Council of La Raza president and CEO, issued a statement, “When candidate Obama asked our community for support in 2008 and 2012, he urged us all to vote based on our hopes, not our fears. Today, President Obama gave in to the fears of Democratic political operatives, crushing the hopes of millions of hard-working people living under the constant threat of deportation and family separation.”
So now what?
Will reformers fall for President Obama’s next pitch, claiming once again Tweedle Dee deserves their vote more than Tweedle Dum?
Will they sit it out, finally aware that in a two-party system, real immigration reform is not likely.
Immigration News Curation By Carlos Batara