Obama sets another speech to fix the Arizona illegal immigrant situation
With polls showing he's on the losing end of the public opinion tide in favor of Arizona's new illegal immigrant law, President Obama has decided to construct a wordy barrier of speeches along the insecure border issue with Mexico.
The latest speech comes Thursday morning, when the Democrat goes to American University in Washington to repeat his view that securing and sealing the nation's southern frontier against the flow of illegal immigrants, drugs, traffickers, criminals and terrorists is only a part of the solution to what he describes as "our broken immigration system."
The president says he wants a comprehensive package of immigration reforms, including the ...
... volatile issue of addressing the millions of illegal immigrants already residing in the country. He's also said he sees no congressional "appetite" for such a comprehensive measure now. Which in Washington-speak means, "We're doing nada now."
Arizona's Republican Gov. Jan Brewer maintains that national security should be a government's top priority and to hold that element hostage to a broader legislative solution involving social problems is irresponsible.
So millions continue to live in the U.S. illegally. The border with Mexico remains porous. And the Democrat, through his Justice Department, will soon sue Arizona over its state legislation to try and focus attention on that rallying issue during the ongoing midterm election season, which is shaping up as a challenging one for Democrats.
Tuesday the president met with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to brief members on his Thursday speech and to reiterate "the unprecedented efforts his Administration has taken to secure our borders, including his request to Congress for $600 million in supplemental appropriations and the deployment of up to an additional 1,200 National Guard forces to complement those efforts."
According to that White House account of the non-transparent meeting, Obama "once again made clear his views on the recent law passed in Arizona and noted that the Department of Justice was reviewing it."
That law, written by state legislators out of frustration with woefully ineffective federal border enforcement actions, allows local police, following federal civil rights guidelines, to check people's immigration status if they have reasonable cause to stop them.
The measure, S.B. 1070, takes effect July 29. (See full text below.)
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Brewer appears to have been dealt a royal flush political hand. Back in March, Brewer, who had inherited the office last year when Democrat Janet Napolitano left to preside over homeland security in Washington, languished in a pack of party nobodies for the August GOP primary and then the Nov. 2 gubernatorial election.
But thanks to the new law and its in-state and national popularity, the Democratic state attorney general's unwillingness to defend Arizona and the impending legal fight with the feds, Brewer is riding higher in state polls than even Obama's disapproval rating.
So much for the Democrats' strategy to make lasting political inroads in once-staunchly Republican Rocky Mountain states. Nothing unites Westerners like a high plains jihad over independence with Ivy League-trained brief writers who believe Washington knows best.
Brewer heightened the temperature last week by suggesting the majority of illegal immigrants into Arizona have become drug carriers. "They're coming across our border in huge numbers," Brewer said. "The drug cartels have taken control of the immigration."
Until now, the Obama administration has been largely playing defense on the Arizona issue. So right about now would be a good time for Eric Holder to punctuate the erratic dialogue by filing the suit. With the added advantage that it will help refocus attention away from the continuing gulf oil spill.
In a related Obama poll, 26% of Americans -- including 18% of smokers -- believe that unhealthy habit should be prohibited by law. But do you think the presidential puffer would sign it?
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Photos: Fred Greaves / Reuters; Pete Souza / White House (Obama meets with Hispanic Caucus 6-29-10).