By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
If President Obama is having a tough time passing healthcare reform legislation, he, as they say, "ain't seen nothin' yet." Now he's promising to push through immigration reform next year, including a so-called path to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants.
He's in Mexico trying to make nice-nice with his Mexican and Canadian counterparts. But promising immigration reform is not the best way to do that.
He said he regards immigration reform as being in the long-term interest of the United States. "We have a broken immigration system," he said. "Nobody denies it." Continuing on the current path means tensions with Mexico, danger for those trying to cross into the United States illegally, unfairness for those trying to immigrate legally, exploitation by unscrupulous employers, the depression of U.S. wages and other ills, Obama said.
Everyone agrees the system is broken. But the country remains deeply divided about how to fix it. Remember what happened when President Bush tried to push an immigration bill through Congress? Immigrants demonstrated and protested, many waving Mexican flags, in cities across the United States. Anti-immigration forces got riled up and pressured their members of Congress to block Bush's bill. And they succeeded.
I think I've seen this movie already and we don't need a rerun.