May 10th, 2011
09:00 AM ET

Letters to the President: #841 'So when will you solve the immigration issue?'

Reporter's Note: President Obama is traveling to the border to talk about border security. My suspicion is that the border will be more secure during his visit than it is any other time of the year…and isn’t that the whole issue?

Dear Mr. President,

So you are headed down to Texas to make a big speech on immigration, are you? Well, I hope it goes nicely for you, but I would not bet on it. To the contrary, I think you ought not be surprised if the first thing you hear from folks in that part of the country is: “It’s about time!”

Related: Immigration reform taking center stage in Texas

Ever since that big dustup with Arizona over their law addressing illegal immigration, I think a lot of Americans have been waiting to see what you will do. And now that the Arizona crew is arguing before the Supreme Court for a right to enforce their law despite your objections, it does seem as if the clock has about run out on the DC stalling.

Related: Arizona takes controversial immigration law to Supreme Court

You really can’t blame folks for growing impatient, no matter what view they hold on this matter. Consider the progression: After years of concern about people hopping back and forth across the border while agents chased them willy-nilly here and there, Arizona said “Enough!” They enacted a law to take on the issue themselves. Your Justice Department immediately countered with, “Hey, that’s not your job. It’s ours! Only the federal government can address this problem.”

And since then, our country’s official stance toward this problem has not been clarified one bit. Arizona has not been able to enforce its law, frustrating conservatives. Reform advocates have not been able to make any moves, frustrating liberals. And yet your administration has effectively done nothing to pick up the ball that you were so eager to slap out of local hands.

Maybe that’s what this trip is all about. Maybe you will lay out in unambiguous terms precisely what you think we should do about enforcement, how we should regard those who are hear illegally, and how we should progress into the future.

But considering what a political hot potato this is, I’m betting that won’t be the case. I suspect you’ll give one of those half-tough speeches that DC types love so much - a non-binding policy sermon that gives the illusion of progress with no real action. And if that’s what happens, that will be a shame. Because a lot of people on both sides of this issue have been waiting a long time for something more, for a bold stroke of leadership that at least lets people know clearly where you stand and what you will try to do. And I’m pretty sure they’re not going to be happy on either side if you once again end up straddling the fence and producing not even a reasonably compromise.

Travel well. Call when you can.


Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Mike Dancheck

    Immigration reform is easy:
    – End Birthright Citizenship (This is just plain stupid. If we don't stop this now we will be in much worse shape 10 years from now.)
    – Add fingerprints to Drivers' Licenses (So I can't give my SS# and birth cert to 12 of my illegal relatives)
    – Impose major fines for companies caught hiring Illegals; And, shut them down on 3rd offense (Legal citizens need work)

    - Off Base, but.... Stop giving money to foreign countries that we have to borrow and pay interest on! Yet again, more genius ideas from our Einstein-like politicians.

    May 10, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
  2. emmanuel alfred

    It's all about timing and I think time is running out politically.

    May 10, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
  3. Tim Gibson

    More talk and less action, that is Obama. Our borders are a national danger and threat to public safety and must be addressed but not by awarding those who have broken our laws and came into our country illegally. Otherwise how will leadership weed out those who enter our coutry with the intent to harm Americans and destroy our way of life through terrorist actions. How will the issue of jobs be addressed, of public assistance on already strained systems. The only solution is to close the loopholes and deport those who are here illegally.

    May 10, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
  4. Gayle

    Its about time that the immigration is put to a stop. I think the illegall should all go back with there familys and come her illegally and become citizens, and make Engllish the laungage of choice. no more spanish listed on anything, they either talk english or no jobs what so ever.

    May 10, 2011 at 9:59 am |