The time, 2008, and candidate Barack Obama told a Spanish TV audience on Univision, “What I can guarantee is that we will have in the first year an immigration bill that I strongly support and that I’m promoting.” When 2010 rolled around, Hispanics were wondering why the now President Obama hadn’t kept his word. They are still wondering.
What Hispanics did notice was an uptick in deportations. According to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, deportations quadrupled in 2010 compared to former President George W. Bush’s last year in office. The only effort to reform immigration law was the DREAM Act which failed to pass at the end of 2010 when Democrats controlled both houses of Congress.
The president is now proposing sweeping immigration reform. Tuesday in El Paso, Texas, he set out his plan. Illegal immigrants would have to come forward, pay a penalty and taxes; learn English or join the military. He also called for another stab at the Dream Act which would provide a path to citizenship to children of illegal aliens.
The political moves in this new effort are undeniable. The Hispanic vote played big in Obama’s election. He won 67 percent of the Hispanic vote; however, that did not endear him to the Hispanic community forever. Democrats and Republicans understand the need to court the Hispanic vote. With Obama’s initiative, Republicans can oppose it at their own peril and their base is pushing them in that direction.
Obama said, “We have gone above and beyond what was requested by the very Republicans who said they supported broader reform as long as we got serious about enforcement. All the stuff they asked for, we’ve done. But even though we’ve answered these concerns, I’ve got to say I suspect there are still going to be some who are trying to move the goal posts on us one more time – to the point of seeking a moat and alligators.”
Unfortunately, there are some who believe we can deport the estimated 11 million illegals, more than 400,000 here in Georgia, and that’s what they want to see no matter how impractical.