Obama is willing to spend. He’s working on the econoy. And in every second breathe he mentions health care, education, energy and climate change.
What happened to immigration reform?
Los Angeles Times
March 23, 2009
Ithought U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. was a little over the top last month when he called us “a nation of cowards” for our collective failure to adequately discuss our troubled racial past.
Less than a month later, officials at his Justice Department are believed to have pulled the plug on the nomination of Thomas Saenz, chief counsel to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, to head the department’s civil rights division. Why? Apparently because of Saenz’s past advocacy on behalf of immigrant rights.
You read that correctly. Saenz’s past professional civil rights activism has evidently disqualified him from being the nation’s top civil rights enforcer. If it’s true, it’s a decision that may be a troubling sign for those hoping President Obama is committed to comprehensive immigration reform.
Don’t go looking for public griping from Latino members of Congress on the Saenz incident. On Wednesday, in what from all accounts was a love-fest between Obama and the entire Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the president reaffirmed his commitment to … comprehensive immigration reform. In a breathless news release, Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles) cooed that “the American people are fortunate to have a president ready and willing to tackle the big issues of the day.” In a telephone media briefing, leaders from some of the nation’s most prominent immigrant rights organizations practically held hands and sang “Our Guy.”
But just below the buzz of news releases and sound bites, some officials and advocates who care most about immigration reform are worried. True to form, irascible Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina was the only high-profile elected official to speak out. She was quoted as saying Saenz had been offered the nomination and accepted it. That the administration canceled the deal, she told the blog of the Legal Times, “speaks volumes of the lack of courage of the administration.” Ouch. Several other activists expressed their own concerns to me off the record.