The politics of immigration have shifted
For years, the discussion of immigration reform has been about legalizing the young man working on your roof or the young woman who cleans your home. It was based on a lot of emotion and goodwill. It is the reason that so many people favored some kind of legalization in public opinion polls.
For the record, I've favored a modest immigration plan that puts some people on a path to legalization not citizenship. Plus, a plan to give some kids raised here a chance to stay here.
The "kids on the border" crisis, and it is a crisis, has turned public opinion around. You can forget any immigration reform for now. I am off the bus when it comes to any plan that legalizes anybody until someone can assure me that the US-Mexico border is secure.
More and more, people are watching the consequences of not enforcing the law and communication a vague message to parents in Central America.
Ironically, President Obama, the man who promised immigration reform in his first year, will finish two terms having killed any chance of reform. Who would have believed that at all of the "si se puede" rallies of 2008?
It's a new game, as we read in The Washington Post:
"Until now, the politics of immigration have been seen as a no-lose proposition for President Obama and the Democrats. If they could get a comprehensive overhaul passed, they would win. And if Republicans blocked it, the GOP would further alienate crucial Hispanic and moderate voters.
But with the current crisis on the Southwest border, where authorities have apprehended tens of thousands of unaccompanied Central American children since October, that calculus may be shifting.
Republicans and even some Democrats have accused Obama of being insufficiently engaged in a calamity that many say he should have seen coming.
And the president’s own party is deeply divided over what must be done now — particularly on the sensitive question of deporting children who have traveled thousands of miles and turned themselves in to U.S. authorities to escape from the desperate situations they faced in countries such as Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
The emergency has also renewed questions about the administration’s competence, reminiscent of those raised during the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, last year’s botched rollout of the health-care law and more recent revelations of mismanagement that jeopardized care of patients at veterans hospitals."
The chaos on the border PLUS real concerns about the administration's competence means that the conventional wisdom is out the window.
On the other hand, more and more conservatives will oppose reform until the border is secured.
It's a whole new game and you can blame it on the chaos on the border. Frankly, chaos, brought to you by a weak president, will do it every time!