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!”
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.
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.
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