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June 25th, 2012
09:03 PM ET

Letters to the President #1253: 'The court rules'

Reporter's Note: President Obama is running for re-election. I run a lot, but only for exercise…not for the Oval Office.

Dear Mr. President,

Well, the whole town is abuzz over this Supreme Court ruling on that Arizona immigration law. I would say congratulations, but I can’t figure out if this is really a win or a loss or something else for your team.

On one hand, your administration argued that Arizona had no business mucking about in the federal job of handling immigration, and the Supco crew seems to agree. That’s a positive for your side. On the other hand, the most controversial part of the law was upheld; the part that allows police officers who have stopped someone for some other reason to then check their immigration status. That’s a negative from your point of view.

In a practical, political sense, however, I’m not sure this will make any difference when it comes to that all important question that seems to plague your team and Mitt Romney’s: Who will get the Hispanic vote?

Three reasons.

First, Latinos in this country are much more interested in the economy than they are in this issue. Polls have found that time and again. It is short sighted and insulting for people to think that immigration is the big crank turner for this whole community of thinking, caring, hard working people. (Btw, even if this were the hot button issue for Latinos, there is no clear, monolithic view in that community about how it should be handled.)

Second, Arizona’s efforts on this front were generally quite popular among Americans over all, and often bristle at the courts telling them what they can and can’t do. So even though some voters may be somewhat happier with this ruling, it is possible that just as many or more will be irritated by it.

And third, the decision, as I noted at the start, is murky. This does not really look like a win for either you or Gov. Romney. Accordingly, neither of you should expect any measureable surge in voter support.

Just a few thoughts to get the week started. Hope all is well. I’m starting to pick up my running mileage a bit. Did a great 14 mile loop through the Adirondack mountains during my week off. You would have loved it. Call if you can.

Regards,
Tom

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