Unlike the unsuccessful mythical Sisyphus pushing a boulder up a mountain, the U.S. Senate’s “Gang of Eight” pushed the Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) “boulder” down the mountain before Barack Obama could get out of the chute in Sin City.
Senators Chuck Schumer (D), John McCain (R), Dick Durbin (D), Marco Rubio (R), Robert Menendez (D) and Lindsey Graham (R) and by statement, “Gang” members Senators Jeff Flake (R) and Mike Bennett (D) were absent — addressed a jammed press conference (110 reporters in a room for 24) and a nationwide cable audience on Monday afternoon.
That was 24 hours before Obama’s “rip-roaring” 25-minute Immigration speech in Las Vegas at a high school full of (Obama photo-op) Hispanic students. It was a terrible speech, terribly received speech thanks to the “Gang of Eight.”
The “Gang’s” outline of a Comprehensive Immigration Reform plan torpedoed Obama’s speech. Obama mimicked the Gang’s outline for CIR but ignored a key element, the one he voted against in 2007 – a viable guest worker program. He also demanded a quick citizenship in contrast to the Senate plan of a long, extended, “probation” for background checks, possible fines and back taxes. Trouble, wiggle-room..?
Obama then suggested that if the Congress did not act quickly, he would act. That suggestion shows Obama’s irrelevance in the movement towards CIR..
Reason: The Constitution’s Article 1, Section 8 specifically states that:
“The Congress shall have Power… To establish an (sic) uniform Rule of Naturalization…” This means immigration.
The President has no power to grant mass legalization or citizenship without Congressional statutory authority and never has. President Obama’s function in the general scheme of Immigration Reform is as an observer. When Congress presents him with a duly-passed “regular order” bill he can sign or veto – only.
With CIR on the move he will campaign for what he would like in Reform. That is exactly what he did in Las Vegas after the Senators jumped the gun with their proposal. Interestingly, Obama failed to over-shadow the Senators or their proposal, their bipartisan proposal, in the media. He was four years late as he had ignored the immigration problem until recently. He did give two minor speeches for political purposes and issued an Executive Order giving qualified illegally present kids a two-year reprieve from deportation, but nothing else.
He never outlined a plan or a CIR bill for Congress to consider. He didn’t do so in Las Vegas either.
He can campaign with “Bully Pulpit” speeches but his constituency is not the general public, it already supports Reform (63% in an AP poll and 66% in a Fox News Poll). His audience: Congress. He has to be uber-careful, however. No more of his attack-Republicans-for-everything-mode. Without Republicans, there is no reform. 219 votes are necessary in the House to pass CIR. He can’t deliver a majority vote. John Boehner can, — all 219 votes.
Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner holds the key to CIR. If he wants CIR, he will deliver it.
A bonus — he can suavely go after extremist House Republicans by a massive attack on their language, the language of “hate.”
The hate lexicon is used by critics of Immigration, legal immigrants, illegal immigrants and specifically, those from Mexico, from where most legal immigrants and illegally-present people are from; is:
“Anchor babies” used to describe/denigrate American citizen babies with one or both parents here illegally; “Open Borders crowd” used to demean supporters of immigration reform. “Treason Lobby” is used to describe/insult the Senators, pundits, business, church or community leaders and politicians that support Immigration reform. “Amnesty” is used as a derogatory term even as it is not part of CIR, but it was effective before. Will it be this time?
We suffered this in 2007 when anti-immigrant groups led by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), its non-profit Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and NumbersUSA unleashed pure venom on Immigration Reform. They were originally funded (1 Million dollars) by a racial-purity foundation (the Pioneer Fund) and founded/run by “Zero-Population” and Sierra Club leader, Dr. John Tanton.
FAIR brainstormed California’s unconstitutional Proposition 187 (1994). FAIR’s legal arm wrote Arizona’s unconstitutional SB1070 that has but one provision left in court; it was behind a Hazelton, Pennsylvania anti-illegal rent ordinance (thrown out by courts), as were similar laws in Nebraska, Alabama and Farmers Branch, Texas. Its lawyer is Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.
Kobach was thrown under the political bus by Romney’s Presidential campaign when Kobach claimed to be an official Romney advisor. The campaign denied it.
All, that vituperative lexicon will be used against the “Gang of Eight” Senators, Congressmen, punditry and organizations ranging from the Church, to Business and even elements of organized Labor.
This time, however, Sisyphus’ boulder – Comprehensive Immigration Reform –will reach the mountain top.
Raoul Lowery Contreras (1941) was born in Mexico, raised in the USA. Former U.S. Marine, athlete, Dean’s List at San Diego State. Professional political consultant and California Republican Party official(1963-65)…Television news commentator, radio talk show host…published Op-Ed writer (1988 to present)…author of 12 books (as of 1-05-12). His books are available on Amazon.com.