At least, that’s the startling suggestion from Stewart J Lawrence on the US immigration deadlock.
It seems thinks aren’t going well for the Democrat’s poster boy:
A month after a federal judge struck down most of Arizona's tough new immigration law, the White House campaign to stigmatise the GOP as the party of bigotry and intolerance has backfired. Rather than rally independents, it's further polarised white swing voters against the Democrats.Oh, dear. What’s an Obamassiah groupie to do?
And its real purpose – to galvanise disaffected Latino voters – hasn't borne fruit either.
With Republicans still hostile to comprehensive immigration reform, Democrats prefer to punt on immigration until after the mid-terms. But with the GOP surging fast, that's likely to delay further progress until after the 2012 elections – and perhaps even longer.Oh, really? What’s the rush?
America, already convulsed by nativism on a scale not seen since the 1920s, can't afford to wait that long. And neither can the president's restive Latino base. We need to act now.
Couldn’t be the dreadful poll numbers, could it?
As the nation's chief executive, Obama has the power to institute policy action on immigration that does not require a formal vote by congress. It's not a power he should use lightly, but it's there, and current circumstances warrant its use.Translation: We’re losing, so we need to change the rules of the game before the people we are supposedly elected to serve get wise and dump our asses on the sidewalk.
As a stopgap, Obama has already sent word to the department of homeland security not to target illegal aliens guilty of only minor crimes.Wonderful! ‘Agents of the State, do NOT do the jobs the people of the US pay you for…’
It's important, however, that Obama couple any concession of this kind with continued efforts to tighten immigration enforcement.Which can, like the example just given, be ignored at a later date by executive fiat?
The president, under GOP pressure, has already signed a bill to beef up border enforcement. Now, on his own initiative, he should take similar action at the workplace – to deter illegal hiring.Hmmm, yet another burden on businesses. I’m surprised to see the Repubs are in favour of that…
How? By ordering that "E-Verify", the workplace verification system that's currently in restricted use, be extended nationwide and made mandatory for all employers.
… congressional Republicans, as well as Blue Dog Democrats, are among its staunchest supporters. They'd be hardpressed to oppose the president for taking up their cause.And what about the people? Do they get a say?
Executive action is risky.No kidding!
But it's far less risky, politically, than convening a "lame-duck" session of congress, as some Democrats like senate majority leader Harry Reid (Democrat, Nevada) now propose, to try to ram through the Dream Act or other broader immigration measures, much as they did with healthcare reform.And look how well that went…
Most outgoing Democrats aren't going to play ball, especially if they have to vote to expand enforcement. And even those who survive the mid-terms still have to face the voters in 2012. Supporting legalisation in a GOP-controlled congress could well cost them their seats.So, let Obama take the decision (and the flack), right? Only one problem…
As president, Obama is uniquely placed to step in and exercise Solomon-like leadership…Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Are you kidding me?
At a time when the public discourse on immigration is degenerating into near-hysteria, and congress remains paralysed, even-handed executive action can point the country forward. It sends a powerful signal to voters that the president still has the courage to stick his neck out, even when a nervous and recalcitrant congress, including members of his own party, won't.Unfortunately for you, Obama has about as much of a reputation for courage as our late, unlamented Prime Monster.
So, looks like the Dems can expect a rocky reception this time around. Buckle up, boy!