Listening to the subversives: Amnesty, illegal immigration and the Massachusetts election discussed by the now somewhat nervous open borders/anti-enforcement lobby
Wanna see what the open borders lobby is talking about on amnesty in 2010?
NiLP ( National Institute for Latino Policy) FYI:
Cecilia Muñoz Tells It Like It Is on Immigration Reform Prospects?
Found in NiLP newsletter
Written by Angelo Falcon
01-22 - 2010
Note: As everyone is scrambling to regroup after the Note: Note: After the Massachusetts electoral debacle this week, many advocates are doing their best to parse statements from the White House for what is going to happen next on health insurance reform and other issues. Below is an interesting attempt to do so regarding the prospects of comprehensive immigration reform based on remarks by Cecilia Muñoz, the White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, during a White House teleconference. We thought you would find it of interest.
Cecilia Muñoz Tells It Like It Is — If You Listen Closely
By Tom Barry
Border Lines Blog (January 20, 2010)
In a “tele-townhall” sponsored by the Reform Immigration FOR America campaign - a project of the National Immigration Forum - top White House aide Cecilia Muñoz (and former National Council of La Raza point person on immigration reform) tried simultaneously:
1) to assure immigration-reform advocates that the Obama administration is deeply committed to reform, and
2) to caution about countervailing anti-reform forces and factors that may obstruct CIR the third time around.
Hard to say what other listeners thought, but these were my conclusions:
Administration is NOT willing to risk any political capital on supporting comprehensive immigration reform by assuming a leadership position.
CIR is worse than dead in the water; its introduction in Senate will unleash a firestorm of populist backlash ( Note from D.A. - she means those pesky Americans) that will further unite Republicans and further divide Republicans.
Administration is not backing away from its “nation of laws” framing of immigrant crackdown. Indeed, it is saying its tough-on-immigration, strong-on-border security practices ( Note from D.A. - HA! )will prove critically important in winning the CIR campaign.
“It’s important to understand,” she warns, “that those folks voted before, remember those bills and process, know that Senate debate may not be different than in 06 or 07.”
Referring to the opposition that the planned introduction of a CIR bill in the Senate will unleash, Muñoz cautions:
“Important to be honest about that.” And because of the previous efforts and the likely opposition this time around, she indicated that the Schumer-Graham bill will probably be even tougher, more compromised than in the final 2007 CIR bill.
Political rationale for Continuing Harsh Enforcement and Border Security Build-up:
Muñoz says that one of the main reasons that CIR was defeated in 2006 and 2007 was the argument that comprehensive enforcement and border control should be the prerequisite for new legalized flows or legalization. “We are making good progress” on border security and smart interior enforcement ( Note from D.A. - HA! AGAIN), she said, repeating the argument of DHS Secretary Napolitano in her speech at the Center for American Progress that strong enforcement makes reform possible. “Many of the congressional benchmarks [whose benchmarks? Where is this list?] have been met,” thus “gives us some optimism, more attainable now than in the past.”
She said that because of the administration’s immigration enforcement and border security credentials CIR is “more digestible” now for Congress.
Obama’s Back-Up Role:
“It will take a lot more than the president’s commitment to accomplish this objective [CIR].” According to Muñoz, Obama understands the issue well, wants reform for all the right reasons, has a good track record from years in legislature, in Congress, during campaign, and in first year: “That kind of leadership is at the ready.”
But she made it clear that the administration wasn’t going to take the initiative, that Obama wasn’t going to use the bully pulpit of the presidency to persuade voters that reform was good for them.
Instead she pointed to Congress, and she placed the onus on the grassroots and NGOs (as if they hadn’t been working their hardest for this issue and for Obama) to establish the political space, to educate about the merits of CIR, and to build the support to “take it across the finish line.” She advised that the grassroots campaign this time needs to be “better coordinated and prepared,” and this “will take a lot of commitment around the country.”
Asked about the retroactive aggravated felon policies that routinely result in the deportation of legal immigrants, Muñoz pleaded ignorance whether these mean-spirited policies would be addressed in a CIR proposal, but “I can say this is part of the immigration system that is broken.
But again success in fixing depends on “our collective ability, the work that everybody does,” and part of the problem is that there isn’t enough political space to do as much as we like - so up to advocates to create this space.
She assured participants in the conference call that “we are going to continue press forward…as long as factors favor it.”
Who’s the administration point person on CIR reform? Well that would be its chief enforcer of the “broken immigration system” and chief proponent of border security: DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano. “She will lead the charge” for CIR, says Muñoz.
For those listening closely and critically, Muñoz did not offer any false hope - something that candidate Obama, the president, and the leading DC advocacy groups have been culpable.
It was clear that Obama, personally and his administration, while deeply sympathetic aren’t committed enough to immigration reform to lead the way, to frame the issue, to spread the vision of an immigration policy that would indeed fix the broken system.
It was equally clear that the administration is not considering backing away from the “enforcement-first” framework that the administration has inherited and embraced as its own.