Jewish World Review May 13, 2011 9 Iyar, 5771
Yes, we can fix immigration
By Roger Simon
A piece on The Washington Post’s op-ed page Wednesday said: “By standing up and delivering speeches like the one in El Paso, he ensures a bumper crop of Hispanic votes.”
Well … maybe.
Hispanics should not be confused with Martians. (Though, judging from some of the comments I get about my columns, the number of undocumented Martians in this country is shocking.) Hispanics have real-life, everyday concerns, just like everybody else.
A survey by the Pew Hispanic Center, a nonpartisan research organization, taken late last year before the congressional elections found that “immigration does not rank as a top voting issue for Hispanics.”
The survey found that immigration “ranks as the fifth-most-important issue” for registered Latino voters and as the “fourth-most-important issue for all Latinos.”
What were some issues they cared about more than immigration? The top three were education, jobs and health care.
That is not to say Hispanics don’t care about immigration. They do. But they have basic pocketbook concerns, too. They also have developed pretty good BS detectors when it comes to politicians and immigration reform.
Congress will not pass comprehensive immigration reform over the next few years, and Hispanics know it. Obama wants their votes by telling them his heart is in the right place, and he wants the votes of other Americans by saying he also cares about securing our borders.
“We have gone above and beyond what was requested by the very Republicans who said they supported broader reform as long as we got serious about enforcement,” Obama said Tuesday. “They said we needed to triple the Border Patrol. Well, 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 want alligators in the moat. They’ll never be satisfied.”
They won’t be. Nor will the border ever be absolutely secure.
So do we sit around and do nothing? No. Bruce Morrison has a fix. Morrison is a former Democratic congressman from Connecticut and was chairman of the House Immigration Subcommittee, a member of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform and author of the Immigration Act of 1990. He is now an immigration attorney and lobbies on a wide variety of related issues.
He doesn’t agree with everything Obama says or does — Morrison was a Hillary Clinton supporter in the past presidential election — but Morrison believes the president “is sincerely trying to find a solution” to the immigration problem. Morrison also believes, however, the immediate solution must come from the White House, not Congress.
Right now, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement can cut some slack to illegal immigrants through a policy called “deferred action.” (ICE is a law enforcement agency under the Department of Homeland Security, which means it is part of the executive branch of government.)
Let’s say you are fighting in Afghanistan and your spouse gets picked up in a raid and is found to have entered the United States illegally years ago. Should we really deport her? While you are fighting for America? ICE has the discretion to leave illegal immigrants in the United States on a year-to-year basis.
Morrison wants more deferred actions, not for new illegal immigrants but for those already here. “What most Americans want is an end to large numbers of people coming into this country outside of the rules,” Morrison said. “They are saying, ‘We are sick of this crap. Fix it.’”
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