Charge of the Latino Brigade

Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result: A few days ago I wondered whether President Obama, faced with knowledge that his immigrant legalization plan now has no chance of passing, would

a) recognize that [his] political strategy for winning Latino votes has hit a dead end; or b) organize another White House conference!

We now know the answer. … I’m searching for the right metaphor for the absurd political strategy Obama is pursuing. Is it performance art? Camusian heroism? Pickett’s Charge? The Charge of the Light Brigade? He’s asking Latino leaders and voters to join him for one more futile straightahead push, knowing that it’s futile and knowing they know it’s futile. And he expects them to reward him for it. …

True, it’s not Obama’s fault that amnesty is dead. The way to get amnesty (as Lawrence O’Donnell once pointed out to me) has been clear for years: gain support for legalizing the current wave of illegal immigrants by demonstrating that you can and will prevent the next wave of illegal immigrants. The reason Latino leaders won’t take this deal is equally obvious: they don’t want to prevent the next wave of illegal immigrants–at least of Latino illegal immigrants. If they did, they’d have their amnesty by now.

That’s their fault. But a President who was a leader would move them off their head-meets-brick-wall position. (He could even appeal to the same ethnic sentiments that drive the immigration debate on the ground: Let’s help the Mexican economy prosper. Let’s increase the quote of legal Mexican and Latin American immigrants, and welcome them–but also do what it takes to block and deter illegals.) Instead the White House’s plodding, by-the-numbers Latino strategy–meetings and more meetings to say the same things that haven’t worked before and hope that rouses the ethnic vote one more time–is itself all the proof you need that the immigration issue is still on the backburner. If it wasn’t, someone in the adminstration with a bit of imagination might give it some thought. …

P.S.: The latest big Pew survey has identified a group of mainly blue-collar, white and black “hard pressed Democrats”–about 15% of the electorate–who are deeply skeptical of the benefits of immigration. Why do these Democrats tell pollsters that immigrants are a burden because they “take our jobs”? Maybe because they do. Just a thought! (If journalists were trying to make a living in 2011 as unskilled workers, the CW on immigration might look very different.)   …

P.P.S.: Is it reasonable for Obama to dangle in front of Latinos the prospect of an immigration amnesty even in the next Congress? Is there a plausible political scenario in which the next Senate is more receptive to legalization than the Senate of 2008-2010? Or is this the political equivalent of malpractice? …

  • stayingamused

    Let’s increase the quote of legal Mexican and Latin American immigrants, and welcome them–but also do what it takes to block and deter illegals.

    Mickey, I’m confused. What’s the point of allowing in lots more Mexican immigrants legally but trying to crack down on the illegals? Legal or illegal, the high rate of Mexican immigration is going to have the same effect on our society. Last week the big news was that the economy had created 244,000 jobs, but that wasn’t enough. Nobody in the government or media–and I mean NOBODY–asks, why then are we admitting 100,000 new immigrants a month? (Some studies say 1.8 million immigrants a year if you include legal and illegal.) Wouldn’t an immigration moratorium be in order until there is a significant drop in unemployment? Is it the moral obligation of American citizens to have to compete for jobs with people who just got here? Why isn’t saving the jobs for the people already here more important to our politicians?

  • oregonbird

    What wave of immigrants? Every official in the Border Patrol and every border state police officer whose been interviewed has stated, without the slightest reservation, that the number of illegal border crossings has declined markedly since the economy crashed, and that a double-digit percentage of illegals who have been living in the US have crossed back into Mexico. Stricter rules have been implemented in medical and social service offices, which has cut down on the number of immigrants applying, and weeded out many who were using those services. The Latino citizens I know – admittedly, only 18-20 or so, are pro-Obama – and not pleased at all about the GOP-produced anti-brown laws.After his success in removing bin Laden, I’ve heard nothing but approval for Obama; and I haven’t heard any of them saying anyone in their families disagreed. But when the GOP attacked family services – that was a VERY big mistake. The latino community uses the low-cost services at women’s health outlets – grandmothers, mothers and daughters – and the attack on such an important resource is not going over well… at all. That is going to be one of the biggest reasons that the GOP loses seats to latino votes. Latinos protect their families. Always.

  • brittanicus


    Since the 1986 Immigration Control and Reform Act those in power has lied to the US people? Just sufficient laws have been passed, to give the impression that President Obama, George Bush or back to Ronald Reagan, promised to secure fully the border. That they would enforce immigration laws, but candidly nothing serious as ever been accomplished? We need to revisit President Linden B. Johnson, Immigration Restriction Act of 1921 policy “Quotas System”, so only certain amounts of foreign nationals are given entry visas. Its requirements were Numerical limits on immigration from Europe and the use of a Quota system for establishing those limitations. Similar legislation had been advanced several times previously without success. Recommencement of immigration and the widespread unemployment that followed the end of World War One demanded change, lending strength to the anti-immigration movement. In 1965, the American people were guaranteed that immigration would never exceed its then low level of 250,000 annually. Currently, it is at an all-time high of over a million a year and still rising.

    Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, a veiled Liberal progressive killed this law, attributing to the 20 million or more who have settled in this country today. You cannot trust any administration, the Liberal press, the liberal Extremists in Academia or any of the open border quasi organization, such as The Council of Foreign Relations. These organizations are for open borders, although we have upwards to 10 million US citizens and resident without a job. Leftists and equivalents all have their own agenda’s and Obama and his Leftist administration wants citizenship for the invaders, who stole into our country. There has been so much fraud within work visa programs, the agricultural Guest Worker and fabricated paperwork for skilled immigrants who have come here. The 1986 immigration bill has been a failure, but not because it’s—BROKEN–but because the laws were never enforced.

    The laws enacted, were intentionally made to be broken, underfunded still leaving access to cheap labor for Republicans and more votes for liberals and Democrats; legal or illegal. Ted Kennedy played on the sympathy of American Society, when he ardently promised in 1986, that there would never be another–AMNESTY. E-Verify was nearly killed by Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), Secure Communities is not mandatory and the true 2006 Secure Fence Act, less than a 6 months later Texas Republican Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn pushed for “flexibility to choose other options instead of fencing, if needed.” Politicians obdurately vowed to keep America safe. The law specifically called for “at least 2 layers of reinforced fencing, topped with concertina barbed razor wire with the installation of additional physical barriers, patrol roads, lighting, cameras and sensors” at five exact areas of border totaling approximately 700 miles.

    The revolution that is the TEA PARTY promises no citizenship for illegal aliens, or any of the clandestine Amnesties of which there has been six since 2004. The Tea Party leadership will vote out Pro-Amnesty law, which includes Sanctuary City ordinances and push in opposition to such bills as the dream Act, Chain Migration and any Immigration reform bills. US Senator Rand Paul, a TEA PARTY activist in a letter to me opposes any citizenship for illegal aliens. He also said, “He didn’t think American taxpayers should be forced to pay for welfare, medical care or other expenses. If you are legally arrived in America you have an opportunity to join the TEA PARTY, as they are awaiting you to stop more of your taxes being taken to pay for illegal aliens. So much more interesting facts to be found at NumbersUSA, that connects you with the truth about the illegal alien invasion.

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  • Dan Simon

    “If journalists were trying to make a living in 2011 as unskilled workers…”

    They’re not?