In an election year when Democrats have shown the country yet again that they offer nothing to the American people and their prospects for retaining power in the senate are dismal, you would think that they would be happy to take on an issue that energizes one of the fastest growing demographics in the country, but you’d be wrong. At the same time as Senator Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer announce their new immigration plan, President Obama does them a big favor telling reporters on his plane “there may not be an appetite” for these reforms and that little to nothing can be expected on immigration this year. I can’t roll my eyes hard enough.
The president goes on to say that he “need[s] some help on the Republican side”, letting us in on the secret that he will do nothing and instead call for useless bipartisanship that does anything but produce results. It seems that even in the face of giant rallies in D.C. this year and disgusting, racist laws implemented in Arizona the president doesn’t see that any “appetite” exists for this kind of overture. Never mind the political strategy of encouraging the growth of your party’s electorate in a census/election year! Jane Hamsher at FDL writes a good explanation of the game we will see from both the senate and the press as they flirt with this idea.
Though the president says in public he wants to take on immigration reform this year, his earlier comments to the press seem more realistic. That he wants help from the Republicans is the biggest tell. How can he realistically imagine that the same conservatives who want Faisal Shahzad’s citizenship revoked and complain that a U.S. citizen (though in their eyes, anyone with brown skin is probably not a citizen) was mirandized after their arrest? (These same complaints are never heard when the terror suspect happens to be white, oddly) The same people that celebrate racial profiling and racist laws? This group who questions Obama’s citizenship? If he expects a group whose raison d’être is to limit the rights of people of color then he’s either stupid or dishonest.
It’s the strategy of Obama’s that has become so predictable that it’s surprising when he doesn’t employ it. Much like he does with the LGBT community, Obama will try his best to appear being locked in an epic struggle for equality while working to make sure nothing is done. He did the same for the public option during the healthcare reform debate; always praising it in public but in private attacking anyone actually fighting for it. He’ll call for both the parties of capital to come together and enact people-empowering legislation and knowing the whole time that it is the best recipe for failure. After all, it’s business that profits from keeping Latinos out of citizenship. Their ability to hire labor at prices well below legal wages, coupled with a law enforcement that looks the other way ensures that the forces of the status quo will use everything at their disposal to water-down or stop any progress on treating our Latino sisters and brothers equally.
This is yet another device that is used to separate the working classes from one another. When we empower thinking that encourages the diminishing of our peers based solely on their country of origin or skin color we only weaken our ability to challenge the real crimes of our age. We wont see immigration reform pass this year no matter how often you hear the president, press, or legislators romanticize about it. We may see a repeal of Arizona’s new law but I think that’ll be it.