Friday, April 10, 2009

Is This A Good Idea?

Also on Obama's plate: an immigration bill

While acknowledging that the recession makes the political battle more difficult, President Barack Obama plans to begin addressing America's immigration system this year, including looking for a path for illegal immigrants to become legal, a senior administration official said Wednesday.

Obama will frame the new effort — likely to rouse passions on all sides of the highly divisive issue — as "policy reform that controls immigration and makes it an orderly system," said the official, Cecilia Munoz, deputy assistant to the president and director of intergovernmental affairs in the White House.

Obama plans to speak publicly about the issue in May, administration officials said, and over the summer he will convene working groups, including lawmakers from both parties and a range of immigration organizations, to begin discussing possible legislation for as early as this fall.

Some White House officials said immigration would not take precedence over the health care and energy proposals that Obama has identified as priorities. But the timetable is consistent with pledges that Obama made to Latino groups in last year's campaign.

He said then that comprehensive immigration legislation, including a plan to make legal status possible for an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants, would be a priority in his first year in office. Latino voters turned out strongly for Obama in the election.

I realize most of my readers are of the same mind as me in that they do not agree with this on a personal level. The question though is, is it a good idea politically?

Personally I think it's a grotesque idea. My main issue is that we are already losing enough jobs to outsourcing, now we're going to give the few jobs left in the US away? Then there is the issue of trust, I don't have any when it comes to Obama.

In broad outlines, officials said, the Obama administration favors legislation that would bring illegal immigrants into the legal system by recognizing that they violated the law, and imposing fines and other penalties to fit the offense. The legislation would seek to prevent future illegal immigration by strengthening border enforcement and cracking down on employers who hire illegal immigrants, while creating a national system for verifying the legal immigration status of new workers.

He has already suspended all of these activities by the federal government. He has made no move to strengthen the border. He has suspended raids of companies. When one was held and illegals were rounded up, officials in the administration got angry and not only released the captured workers but gave them permits to work here. So we are supposed to believe he is going to crack down on employers and verify legal immigration status? Excuse me if I am skeptical.

This post is supposed to be about the political ramifications though. I believe politically it's a bad idea.

The only real arguments for doing it this year are ideologically and to keep a campaign promise.

If his rationale for doing it is ideological, then maybe the best thing to do is wait. Sometimes patience is a real virtue. He has 4 years, he doesn't have to do all he wants in the first year. It may be better to wait until the political climate is better.

Although it could be argued that he does not have 4 years. The way the fortunes of the Dems have been going in the last month or so, Obama may be realizing he has until 2010 to complete his agenda with a friendly Congress in place. Historically President's lose seats in their first off year election. That combined with the Democratic brand taking a hit recently and some high profile Senators in early trouble, he could have a rough time after next year. Remember, the GOP does not have to retake the Senate to cause Obama a lot of headaches. They just have to get enough votes to sustain a filibuster to block legislation.

If his reasoning for pushing it this year is to keep a campaign promise, why bother? He has already broken most of his other campaign promises without any political casualty. He has one thing Republican Presidents do not have, a free pass from the press. Democratic President's don't have to keep campaign promises.

Those are the arguments for pushing the legislation. What about arguments against?

There is one real simple one. In the words of our brilliant Vice President Joe Biden, it's a three letter word, J-O-B-S.

There is strong sentiment against illegal immigration in the country already. If his opponents are able to frame the issue in the context of scarce American jobs being taken, Obama could have a huge political price to pay.

This was summed up nicely by the following:

"It just doesn't seem rational that any political leader would say, let's give millions of foreign workers permanent access to U.S. jobs when we have millions of Americans looking for jobs," said Roy Beck, executive director of NumbersUSA, a group that favors reduced immigration. Beck predicted that Obama would face "an explosion" if he proceeded this year.

What are your thoughts on the political ramifications?

Source for article


mksviews said...

"Some White House officials said immigration would not take precedence over the health care and energy proposals that Obama has identified as priorities."

Except when it's the illegals healthcare that is. Always priority to illegals and those who hate America.

There can only be political ramifications if the Republicans are taking a different route, and i'm not so sure they are willing to crack down on illegals.

Miss T.C. Shore said...

Politically, it's a brilliant idea. Most of those opposed to this are unlikely to vote for Obama, anyway. Many of the illegals who would become citizens are likely to vote democrat, largely because of entitlements. Adding 12 million new Democrat voters while losing virtually no Democrat voters... how can he go wrong. He can still blame the economy and the lack of border control on Bush, even four years from now.

Flavor Country said...

I think it is a good move politically also for him. However when it comes to illegal immigration, I am on the side of conservatives.

But with 10 maybe 12 million of them running around, raids doing nothing what else can we do at this point?

Even the damn portion of the border wall that was put up is a joke. They patch up holes in it everyday.

You can't stop them from coming here unless you move to inhumane forms, but then we will look like North Korea or China.

Chuck said...

MK, agreed, the GOP needs to step up to the plate

TC, I can't say I agree with you. You make a good point but for Obama, these people will not be able to vote for awhile (at least legally). He runs a significant risk of alienating the swing voters. This could be a problem in the short term (2010). I think Hispanics want to vote for the GOP. We just need to keep some of the rabid dogs at bay (Tancredo). I don't disagree with Tancredo's stance as much as his delivery. I think we can do it in a way that upholds the law without appearing to be anti-Hispanic. I think he came across as this and he gets some blame for the last two election loses.

Flavor, I think were closer on this issue than we are on most.

As much as anything, I want us to enforce the laws we have. We need to crack down on the border and try to round up as many as is reasonable and send them back.

What would have a far greater and more immediate effect is to cut off their benefits. Stop allowing them access to schools, health care, welfare, ID cards, etc. I know this sounds a little draconian but we have a lot of people without health care and underfunded schools. Who do we spend our limited health care and education dollars on, American citizens or people who are here illegally? As an RN I see the health care system abused by illegals on a daily basis. I believe short of providing life saving treatments (we need to do this on humanitarian grounds) we should deny them access to health care. Flat out ask them to pay up front or leave the facility. We are spending billions of health care dollars we don't have to treat Mexico's citizens, we need to stop.

Didn't mean to sound disagreeable, it hit a nerve :-)

James Wolfer said...

And on the job front, many of those jobs are jobs no one else would take. I work at a Credit Union on auto loans. The majority of people that call me, asking for help on their auto loans due to job loss have lost jobs that pay way more than the minimum wage, and their unemployment pays more than the minimum wage.

Many illegals work a minimum wage (or less). Most of our nation's jobless don't need just a job. They need one that has comparable wages to the one they lost, so that they can pay their mortgage and other loans.

Chuck said...

James, in an environment like this, sometimes a job is a job. This is an argument that is used often. Reality is that if these employers had to hire Americans, they would have to pay more.

Z said...

We're becoming one big doormat, aren't we? Give them ANYTHING...and let the Americans pay for their OWN tuition and healthcare. Make them LEGAL for having broken our law from the get-go?? WHAT?

Funny, every legal Hispanic I know, Mexican or Cuban, Guatemalan, etc., ALL votes GOP. THEY are more against illegal immigration than WE are, if possible, and if THEY'RE voting, he may have miscalculated?

I think we need to get tough and send them back when we can, too. Or at LEAST stop with the freebies.
We won't be N Korea, we'll be a strong, proud and sovereign America again..What's wrong with that anymore, anyway?!

Always On Watch said...

What are your thoughts on the political ramifications?

Bringing in hordes of immigrants and legalizing illegal immigrants is a form of gerrymandering.

I keep hearing that immigrants will do the work that Americans won't do. To some extent, that's true. However, illegal-immigrant and cheap labor have undercut legal employees which might otherwise have jobs in lawn care, landscaping, fencing, roofing, carpentry, etc. Let me give an example with regard to landscaping.

In the ritzy neighborhoods of Northern Virginia, homeowners who can well afford to pay more for landscaping labor nearly always opt for the cheapest bid. That bid comes in from companies who hire illegals. Previous to the influx of illegal invaders, those same homeowners were paying more for the same labor because they had no other choice.

Another problem with illegal immigration: many American teens can no longer find summer work. Employers would rather hire illegals @ $5/hour than an American teen at minimum wage. Also, for employers, hiring illegals can result in less bookwork for IRS and Social Security: it's cash on the barrel head and avoid the expensive paperwork which, even though the monies paid out would be tax deductible, the administrative costs of taking those deductions are higher.

Illegal immigration has hit this household very hard. After his brain surgery, Mr. AOW couldn't do any labor other than that of menial blue collar. He lost his job in January 2008; his employer found that hiring immigrants was more cost effective for the business. If not for the illegals, Mr. AOW might still have a job!

So, there are Americans out there who will do that low-level jobs. And let's not forget that such Americans used to be there before all the immigrants came in.

Always On Watch said...

MK referred to healthcare for illegals.

In Fairfax County, all immigrants get free healthcare the first nine months they arrive here.

And let's not forget what immigration has done to the educational system. All those ESL classes!

Tina Hemond said...

Chuck, Bad Idea politically, see Rasmussen polling that indicates a majority of the population, both Republicans and Democrats want the border sealed and are not in favor of illegal immigration - it's political suicide - frankly, in this environment, with continual layoffs across the country, legitimizing cheap labor (and that is what it will be perceived as being) will cause those most affected (labor - Democrats) to become disenfranchised quickly. So, although I personally believe in comprehensive reform - (although I'm sure my proposal would make people on both sides of the political spectrum a bit unhinged) there is a time to act - now is not the time -
Tina's proposal
Secure all borders first
Includes our ports
give a reasonable amount of notice (48 hours) to all those in this country illegally and working (caveat) to come forward and apply for citizenship, they would be subject to a test that a high school graduate could pass, and also, the fee would be reduced to that of a drivers license. They would be expected to immediately get a valid social security number and start paying into the system.
Those that did not come forward, or those imprisoned, would be sent back to the country of origin on commercial flights - those incarcerated and costing us a fortune in the US prison system would be give the same treatment.
Those living on state aid, with no jobs - same thing - back to the country of origin.

Just a thought. (and with the citizenship test and fees - for those not aware, the test cost $800, the lawyer is approx. $10,000, it takes 6 to 8 years, the test alone most college graduates could not pass because the test is based on civics a course no longer taught in U.S. schools.

Thoughts on this Chuck?

Chuck said...

Z, I agree with the notion that a lot of Hispanics are against illegal immigration. I have a lot of respect for the Hispanic culture. I am in contact with Hispanics a lot. What I see are a mostly hard working, family oriented people (you know, Republicans). I believe that if we do not act like a bunch a rabid racist morons, we will not lose the Hispanic vote over this. We need to not make it about Hispanics but about illegals.

AOW, I get tired of the "they take the jobs no one else wants". Your right, teens would do a lot of these jobs. Plus, it's simply not true. There are a lot of illegals in the road construction and building construction industry. These would be good paying jobs for Americans. Sorry this has effected you so hard. Makes it more than academic. As far as education, your right. We lived in the city for 9 years and our oldest boys went to a citty school that was about 50% Hispanic, some illegals, not sure what percentage. The school had to provide interpreters for the parents and ESL classes for the kids, at my expense.

Tina, I can't say I agree with your proposal but I wouldn't completely discount it. My biggest issue is money. I would want them to repay the cost of all of the services they had been getting for free, health care, education for their kids in which they did not pay taxes, etc. If they could not do this, no deal. Reality is, they have been breaking the law, some for decades. I don't think we can just say "that's okay".

You did mention one thing that I have thought about. I am surprised the Dems haven't been getting a hard time from the unions on this. This costs workers wages. They are effectively scab labor. Seems a little hypocritical to ignore it to me.