President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats, already burdened with pushing through the president’s massive agenda, seem to be sidestepping the issue of illegal immigration.
But with Hispanics expecting big things from the party they helped put in control of Washington last year, fancy footwork won¹t be enough. Hispanic lawmakers went to the White House last week to find out why Obama’s overflowing agenda left out the immigration reform he promised during his campaign.
By Susan Ferrechio
Days before, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had drawn criticism when she told an audience in San Francisco that some raids by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency are “un-American” because they separate illegal immigrant parents from their U.S.-born children.
The remarks brought quick denunciations from opponents of illegal immigration and amnesty for illegal immigrants.
But putting a halt to such raids has been one of the top priorities for Hispanic leaders. At their meeting with Obama last week, the Hispanic lawmakers managed to get the president to pledge that he is “pursuing ways”
to end such raids.
That may be the closest Obama gets to reforming immigration anytime soon.
“Immigration reform makes Social Security reform look like a walk in the park,” said former Rep. Martin Frost, D-Texas., who chaired the House Democratic Caucus from 1999-2003. “It is the single toughest, meanest subject Congress has to deal with. Given the scope of the problems they are facing right now it would be very hard to put immigration reform into the mix.”
“Stop the racist raids” signs are held by Latino activists as they protest recent immigration raids across the country at a demonstration and news conference in front of the downtown Federal Building December 19, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. (File photo by David McNew/Getty Images)