Activists Wonder: Where's Obama's Muscle on Immigration?

President calls for passage of the DREAM Act, but offers little guidance on how to do it

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President Obama is urging the passage of the DREAM Act, which would let illegal immigrants who completed two years of college or military service become citizens, during the lame-duck session of Congress, but pro-immigration activists worry that there's not a lot of grit behind the president's rhetoric.

Obama met with Congressional Hispanic Caucus leaders Tuesday and urged action on immigration reform. But reform advocates say the possibility that Congress will get it done is "really, really, really hard to imagine," Politics Daily's Alex Wagner reports. Tamar Jacoby, head of Immigration Works, says Democrats are grateful to Latinos for voting for them in the midterm elections, but still are merely using the DREAM Act as another chance "to box Republicans in -- and to make sure that Democrats get credit with Latinos for bringing it up." Lynn Tramonte, deputy director of America's Voice, is optimistic but says that while Obama has been vocal in supporting the measure, "he should put some muscle into the DREAM Act to show that he's serious." The Hispanic caucus "really need[s] the president to pick up the phone and call some Republicans," an official said.

  • Some Members Pushing for Bigger Reforms, The Wall Street Journal's Laura Meckler reports. The DREAM Act is fairly modest, but "Congressional efforts to move immigration legislation have gone nowhere over the last two years, and it’s unclear if even this scaled back measure would have support of 60 senators needed to pass. ... One lawmaker at the White House meeting wanted to continue the push for a comprehensive immigration overhaul, which would offer a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants of all ages. Others in the meeting argued that was not realistic, given lack of Republican support for such an sweeping bill, according to one person familiar with the meeting."
  • GOP Was Capable of Immigration Compromise Only Two Years Ago, Andrea Nill notes at Think Progress. "Over the past couple of weeks, Bush has repeatedly alluded to the heated rhetoric around the immigration issue that killed comprehensive reform. Yet, he has stopped short of naming names. As Congress considers taking up the issue again, it’s worth noting that it was members of Bush’s own party that engaged in anti-immigrant fear mongering and that they paid for it dearly in the 2008 elections," Nill says. "Back when Bush was president, Congress still had plenty of Republicans who were moderate on immigration. In fact, several of them — including Sens. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), John McCain (R-AZ), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) — were looked upon as champions of immigration reform. Now, those three Senators, along with the rest of their party, are the biggest thing standing in its way."
  • Watch Out for RINOs, Michelle Malkin writes. "As I’ve been reminding you, however, the real action will be on the GOP side — where open-borders lobbyists are ramping up pressure on Republican squishes. One prominent target: Kay Bailey Hutchison." Meanwhile, Malkin reports, "In Arizona, a front group called “Conservatives for the DREAM” has erected pro-amnesty billboards."
  • All Part of Obama's Nefarious Plot, Protein Wisdom's Jeff G. warns. "Of course, Democrats really don’t care much about immigration reform per se. Instead, what they care about is expanding their base of potential voters — and in low-skilled, newly-minted citizens, many of whom will be largely dependent on government entitlement programs and set-asides, they see an opportunity." With unemployment this high, the idea of allowing more cheap labor to openly compete with Americans is "frankly stunning. That is, unless you saw Obama for who he was early on. Because were that the case, you’d know that as a true believer Obama wants to crash the system by overpromising on entitlements and unfunded liabilities ... The end game is a centralized governmental power run by elite bureaucrats and academics elevated from the universities — all of whom will pretend to champion the 'worker' while busy consolidating power and setting themselves up as the new permanent ruling class."
  • Americans Rejected These Policies in the Midterms, Susan Duclos argues at Wake Up America. "No extremely controversial bills should be passed during the lame duck session... Attempting to push through bills like this after such a massive 'refudiation' ... from the public against Democrats and their party line partisan votes, many of which went against the opposition of the majority of Americans."
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