There has been a lot of casting of blame for this last weekend's vote against a sensible and compassionate immigration bill that would have given hope and a future to hundreds of thousands of immigrant children. Most of the pointing fingers direct blame at the Republicans for their "filibuster" of the DREAM Act. Without dispute the Republicans have, in fact, adopted a virulent anti-immigration position that will ultimately lead to minority status for the party. But Republicans are not the reason the DREAM Act failed. Everyone knew that Republicans would not vote for the DREAM Act. The only three Republicans who did vote for the DREAM Act either are leaving Congress or do not have a concern about the right wing of the party. So, if the Republicans are not to blame, who is? President Obama and the Democrats. Really.
Here are 5 reasons why President Obama is to blame for the failure of immigration reform.
1. Five Democratic Senators abandoned the party and voted against the DREAM Act. One other Democratic Senator was attending a Christmas Party. There is no evidence whatsoever that the White House made a single call to these Senators to secure their votes. The DREAM Act was 5 votes short of breaking the "filibuster" and passing cloture. That math is simple enough, no? If these Senators did what their party wanted and needed them to do, the DREAM Act passes. It appears someone dropped the ball.
2. If Democrats were serious about the DREAM Act, why not MAKE the Republicans actually conduct a filibuster? Make than talk ad nausea until the end of the session or until the American public grows tired of the obstructionism?
3. How many speeches did President Obama give endorsing the DREAM Act? None as near as I can find. Yes, he mentioned the DREAM Act on a couple of occasions in other contexts and his Spokesman Robert Gibbs referred to it in press briefings. But, we all saw that when President Obama wants something passed he ADVOCATES for it. Take the Health Care bill for example. How many times did President Obama give speeches urging, demanding, cajoling for passage of the Health Care bill? Oh, about a jillion. Every day in the months leading up to the vote in the Congress there was President Obama on CNN, FoxNews, MSNBC, giving a speech surrounded by uninsured people in urgent need of health care. He was constantly meeting with wavering Senators. Don't you think that had something to do with the passage of the bill? Where was he on Immigration Reform in the fall? One speech! Where has he been for the last two months on the DREAM Act? Missing in action.
4. Enforcement priorities--President Obama has deported more people than President Bush. Period. The theory for the Obama Administration is that if we just enforce the law enough the Republicans will support comprehensive immigration reform. And, advocacy groups allowed President Obama to get away with this strange, irrational theory of enforcement. President Obama is bringing Secure Communities to a police station near you. President Obama is putting employers out of business for not properly dotting all their "i's" and crossing all their "t's " on the worlds most complicated form, the Form I-9. President Obama is opening more private prisons and putting non-criminal foreign nationals in detention centers far removed from their families, lawyers and the real world in an effort to get these folks to give up and not fight their removal. President Obama is unwilling to put forward a working plan for immigration reform, leaving it up to the anti-immigrant crowd to provide Congress draft legislation for doing so.
Had enough? Not yet? Okay
5. Adjudicatory Processes--President Obama is allowing USCIS to adopt crazy, unrealistic, anti-business, extra-regulatory requirements for visas which have long served America well, such as the H-1B, the L-1B, the E-2, and even the EB-5 Investor Visas! USCIS is ramping up the "FDNS" or the "fraud unit," in an attempt to FIND fraud where none exists. These fraud units, which operate without the ability to prosecute actual perpetrators of fraud, appear to trying to find work to do, rather than actually addressing a real need. Meanwhile, USCIS delays adjudication of cases such as the H-1B to force employers to pay the "premium processing" fee of $1,225, which is nothing short of extortion. USCIS raises fees without raising the quality of services, or shortening the adjudicatory process. USCIS continues to delay the processing of FOIA requests and continues to withhold relevant information in direct contradiction to President Obama's first executive order on government openness.
I could go on, but why? President Obama and his administration has shown no desire to actually fix the immigration system America suffers under at this time. He has shown no leadership on the immigration issue. President Obama has not lived up to his campaign promises to immigrants, and Latinos specifically. And yet, President Obama and the Democrats keep coming back to the immigrant well asking for their support in the next election with the promise that if they get reelected they will finally "fix" the broken immigration system.
The reality is it is time for voters who want the immigration system fixed to better serve America, make legality the norm, create greater national security, and reduce illegal immigration to either hold the Democrats and President Obama directly responsible for their failures to date, or somehow get the Republicans to withdraw from their current anti-immigration position. Otherwise, Hispanic, Asian, African and other new immigrant voters may have no one to carry their views on immigration to successful legislation for many years to come.