Wednesday :: Jul 9, 2014

Obama Has Blown The Immigration Issue

by Deacon Blues

I find myself agreeing with Democratic Representative Henry Cuellar of Texas, and yes, many GOP critics of President Obama regarding his visit to Texas today. Given Texas governor Rick Perry's documented critique of the administration on immigration going back to 2012, specifically on the issue of the humanitarian crisis caused by minor children coming across the border unaccompanied by parents, was the White House so politically and optically tone deaf that they thought Obama could drop in and do fundraising and leave the state without getting tagged for not caring?

Or is this White House so convinced of its rightness that they feel anything negative said about them is nothing more than political posturing?

It's easy for Obama supporters and immigration reform advocates to downplay the reaction from the right wing fringe about the issue of minors coming across the border, especially when the face of that opposition is what we saw in Murrieta, California last week. However, the concerns from border areas and states about safety and security are real, and have been real for several years. Yes, Rick Perry was running for president in 2012 and is now again running in 2016, but that doesn't mean the administration can therefore chalk up his complaints and those of any Republican officeholder as nothing more than politics.

Fresh off of a resounding reelection victory in 2012, it would have been easy and politically smart for the president to tour the border states and consult with those GOP governors in early 2013 about what the federal government can do to address the real problems that were already manifesting themselves. It would have built pressure from those states for the House and Senate GOP to act. Instead, the White House sent lower level officials to do photo ops and filed lawsuits to stop state immigration restrictions, thereby making it easy for the GOP to spring this narrative of a White House indifferent to the issue and incompetent after five years of being in charge.

Some may bristle at the suggestion that this represents Obama's "Katrina". I don't. To me, this is just one more issue that this White House and president have mishandled, either through arrogance or political and management incompetence, or both. I was quite critical of eight years of Bush/Cheney indifference, arrogance, and/or inability to multi-task. Fairness and consistency requires the same scrutiny and critiques of this administration.

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