Monday, March 23, 2009

Immigration "Reform": Stealth First

Last week I predicted that President Obama would greet the Congressional Hispanic Caucus with smiles of support. Photos would record the event for instant public adulation.

Was I wrong!

The White House barely acknowledged last Wednesday's meeting and, as far as I can tell, no photos of the event have surfaced. Not even one of the President shaking a Congressman's hand. A brief White House statement acknowledging the meeting failed to mention the Hispanic lawmakers' agenda , which was, according to Congressman Luis Gutierrez, "to bring about comprehensive immigration reform this year."

Well, well, a stealth meeting with 24 Hispanic Congressmen focusing on substantial "cambio" in immigration law.

Cam Simpson of The Wall Street Journal explained it this way:
The interest of the White House in limiting attention to the controversial issue is most likely a sign of how difficult it will be for Obama to muster the support needed to win passage of substantial change, especially as he spends his political capital trying to fix the economy and on reforming health care.
That's putting it mildly. Americans are getting crooks in their necks from ducking to avoid legislative missiles flying "under the radar." Is that a Doppler effect we hear? Wham! Stealth $3 trillion deficit. Duck! Another $4 trillion. Watch it! $2 trillion more. Every time we lift our heads we discover something else that got blasted by low-flying Congressional debris; take your pick: retirement, tuition, job, savings, whatever you've got (or used to have).

The barrage continues:

First, new Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano says she wants to place the burden of responsibility for illegal aliens taking U.S. jobs on the employer, but Congress doesn't want the employer to know who is legal and who is not.

In February, Napolitano was very unhappy to discover that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had not figured out on their own that they'd better forget about busting illegal alien workers. The first time ICE raided a manufacturing plant on her watch, she ordered an investigation of the department. Napolitano wants ICE to focus on the employers who hire illegal immigrants and on "overall immigration reform." Interestingly, in a stealth move that no member of Congress will own up to, funding disappeared from the February $787 billion spending bill that would have paid for Homeland Security/Social Security's E-Verify program. That program, of course, serves employers who want to verify the employment eligibility of their newly hired employees.

Second, Speaker Nancy Pelosi needs to get on Mexico's good side, quick, which might help explain why lately she has been out and about telling cheering Hispanic audiences that it's un-American to throw illegal aliens out of the U.S. Pelosi is in deep do-do with the Mexican government for throwing Mexican trucks out of the U.S. with a Teamster-friendly stealth provision buried in Congress's $410 billion Omnibus spending package.

This provision violated a NAFTA agreement made under President Clinton, and, according to Investor's Business Daily, Mexico considers Pelosi "one of Congress's worst trade protectionists." Just to get her attention, Mexico has since targeted California table grapes with a 45% tariff, immediately shutting down many grape shipments from California to Mexico. A total of $2.4 billion brand-new tariffs on 89 formerly duty-free U.S. goods will cost the U.S. 40,000 jobs in 40 states.

What will the President do? The chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Luis Gutierrez, was optimistic:
The president showed the CHC that, although it is very early in his administration, he understands that for the immigrant community it’s the 11th hour, and there is no time to waste.
No time to waste? I guess not. President Obama is planning a visit to Mexico in less than a month. The White House doesn't mention trade war, but says Obama's discussion with Mexico's President Calderón will focus on "how the United States and Mexico can work together to support Mexico’s fight against drug-related violence and work toward effective, comprehensive immigration reform."

Then, a few short weeks later, "in early May," according to Eva A. Millona of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, "the President . . . will be laying out his plan for [immigration law] reform. . . ."

Ah yes, Obama can certainly be expected to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

There may be dancing in American streets come the fifth of May and waving of flags (this time U.S., not Mexican, flags), but, as the economy shrinks and taxes rise, the fight for jobs and cheap labor will be real enough.

I'm ducking, I'm ducking.


  1. I have no doubt that amnesty is very carefully being considered in the WH and Congress.
    These guys aren't overlooking 12 million new voters!
    The amnesty papers will be stapled to a voter registration already filled-out voter registration form.

  2. I think Simpson of the WSJ is right in the quote (your link went to Washington Wire but not to the story or blog).

    But I also think that Obama and his people are unsure about what to do. He doesn't want to alienate blue collar workers and unions, but still wants to play up to the Hispanic vote. I think you're right, while playing it "stealth" Obama's trying to have it both ways and is banking on that that neither really want to notice.

  3. Good point, thanks.

    Sorry about the link. I fixed it, and here it is too: