As soon as the immigration debate heated back up, it seems to have cooled. Why? The truth is that many liberals are actually hoping to prolong this debate as much as possible because it allows them to continue advancing the false narrative that conservatives are anti-immigration.
This, in fact, was what Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said in a rare moment of candor last year when he said there are some on his side who want to keep this as a wedge issue, because it will ensure the dominance of the Democratic party for a long time.
It’s likely the President could have muscled a comprehensive immigration reform package through the Democratic-controlled House and Senate a la Obamacare. The stars had certainly aligned themselves in 2009 to follow through on a campaign promise he made to the fastest-growing demographic when seeking their votes in 2008.
Rather than seeking modest and even incremental steps to address our broken immigration system, the President spent much of last year defending an immigration position that was hardly reflective of the needs of the American people, let alone the desire of a majority of the Hispanic population.
For the President, an immigration proposal that did not indiscriminately hand out citizenship for the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants was a non-starter. Predictably, this hard-line approach gained little traction in a Republican-controlled House that understands the rule of law is indispensable to safeguarding Americans’ rights and liberties.
In fact, citizenship is not a right, but a privilege conferred to those immigrants who have pursued the process of learning the language, studying the culture, and affirming loyalty to their new adopted country. And conservatives have advocated making this process easier by reforming the system for the millions who are waiting their turn to become legal Americans.
But the President has stuck with the all-or-nothing approach. In December of 2010, the House of Representatives passed an immigration bill that would have streamlined the immigration system while increasing the number of H1-B visas for high-skilled immigrants. For the ultra-liberal lobby, the White House, and Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), this did not go far enough.
Don’t expect much change this time around. Fresh off one of the most partisan State of the Union speeches, and threats of circumventing Congress whenever possible, it’s no surprise House Republicans are expressing skepticism of working with the President on immigration.