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Obama Continues to Dial Back on Immigration Reform

You get the feeling that Democrats really don’t know how to capitalize on anything. BP gushes millions of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, and not only do they not engage in a full-throated call for moving away from a carbon economy and to a renewable energy future, but the as-yet-on-hold climate bill Democrats are readying still includes expanded offshore drilling – BP actually BACKS the climate bill.

Similarly, Arizona passes a law universally decried as draconian, an absolute deprivation of civil liberties. They hand Democrats on a silver platter the pivot by saying that they were forced to enact the law because of inaction in Washington. And what does the President do? He spends Cinco de Mayo telling those assembled at the Rose Garden that he wants to “start” work on immigration reform this year. The statement started off fine:

So today reminds us that America’s diversity is America’s strength. That’s why I spoke out against the recently passed law in Arizona. (Applause.) Make no mistake, our immigration system is broken. And after so many years in which Washington has failed to meet its responsibilities, Americans are right to be frustrated, including folks along border states. But the answer isn’t to undermine fundamental principles that define us as a nation. We can’t start singling out people because of who they look like, or how they talk, or how they dress. We can’t turn law-abiding American citizens —- and law-abiding immigrants —- into subjects of suspicion and abuse. We can’t divide the American people that way. That’s not the answer. That’s not who we are as the United States of America.

Yes, absolutely! And that’s why we have to act now in Washington to bring millions of people out of the shadows and create a fair set of rules to deal with the border, the workplace and the undocumented, and we need to do it without delay-

Comprehensive reform —- that’s how we’re going to solve this problem. And I know there’s been some commentary over the last week since I talked about this difficult issue: Well, is this politically smart to do? Can you get Republican votes? Look, of course, it’s going to be tough. That’s the truth. Anybody who tells you it’s going to be easy or I can wave a magic wand and make it happen hasn’t been paying attention how this town works. (Laughter.)

We need bipartisan support. But it can be done. And it needs to be done. So I was pleased to see a strong proposal for comprehensive reform presented in the Senate last week —- and I was pleased that it was based on a bipartisan framework. I want to begin work this year, and I want Democrats and Republicans to work with me — because we’ve got to stay true to who we are, a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.

Now there’s a bold goal. Obama: Beginning Work This Year.

Incidentally, this is still a bridge too far for Lindsey “Hissy Fit” Graham, who savaged the President for acting in a partisan manner to find Republican Senators to support an immigration bill. (Seriously.)

But I think Graham can rest easy. Because the President telegraphed that there would be no movement on immigration this year. I’m sure Latino voters will understand.

CommunityThe Bullpen

Obama Continues To Dial Back On Immigration Reform

You get the feeling that Democrats really don’t know how to capitalize on anything. BP gushes millions of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, and not only do they not engage in a full-throated call for moving away from a carbon economy and to a renewable energy future, but the as-yet-on-hold climate bill Democrats are readying still includes expanded offshore drilling – BP actually BACKS the climate bill.

Similarly, Arizona passes a law universally decried as draconian, an absolute deprivation of civil liberties. They hand Democrats on a silver platter the pivot by saying that they were forced to enact the law because of inaction in Washington. And what does the President do? He spends Cinco de Mayo telling those assembled at the Rose Garden that he wants to “start” work on immigration reform this year. The statement started off fine:

So today reminds us that America’s diversity is America’s strength. That’s why I spoke out against the recently passed law in Arizona. (Applause.) Make no mistake, our immigration system is broken. And after so many years in which Washington has failed to meet its responsibilities, Americans are right to be frustrated, including folks along border states. But the answer isn’t to undermine fundamental principles that define us as a nation. We can’t start singling out people because of who they look like, or how they talk, or how they dress. We can’t turn law-abiding American citizens —- and law-abiding immigrants —- into subjects of suspicion and abuse. We can’t divide the American people that way. That’s not the answer. That’s not who we are as the United States of America.

Yes, absolutely! And that’s why we have to act now in Washington to bring millions of people out of the shadows and create a fair set of rules to deal with the border, the workplace and the undocumented, and we need to do it without delay-

Comprehensive reform —- that’s how we’re going to solve this problem. And I know there’s been some commentary over the last week since I talked about this difficult issue: Well, is this politically smart to do? Can you get Republican votes? Look, of course, it’s going to be tough. That’s the truth. Anybody who tells you it’s going to be easy or I can wave a magic wand and make it happen hasn’t been paying attention how this town works. (Laughter.)

We need bipartisan support. But it can be done. And it needs to be done. So I was pleased to see a strong proposal for comprehensive reform presented in the Senate last week —- and I was pleased that it was based on a bipartisan framework. I want to begin work this year, and I want Democrats and Republicans to work with me — because we’ve got to stay true to who we are, a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.

Now there’s a bold goal. Obama: Beginning Work This Year.

Incidentally, this is still a bridge too far for Lindsey “Hissy Fit” Graham, who savaged the President for acting in a partisan manner to find Republican Senators to support an immigration bill. (Seriously.)

But I think Graham can rest easy. Because the President telegraphed that there would be no movement on immigration this year. I’m sure Latino voters will understand.

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David Dayen

David Dayen