The Obama Administration is poised to bypass Congress and grant immunity to some 800,000 young Latinos who were brought to the U.S. illegally. Democrats are hailing the move as the right step toward reform. Republicans are saying it is administrative amnesty. Either way, it's the worst form of political pandering we've seen from the President yet.
Obama's announcement is meant to mollify Hispanics who think the President hasn't done enough on immigration. Though he campaigned on the promise that he would tackle immigration reform his first year in office, Obama has punted on the issue and instead has become known for deporting the most illegal immigrants in the history of our country.
Failing to get support for the DREAM Act in Congress, President Obama has instead opted to unilaterally push forth a proposal that largely mirrors key components of the legislation. Though many of the details are still pending, the policy will allow those younger than 30 who came to the United States before the age of 16 to remain in the country and receive work visas provided they don't pose a criminal threat.
It's no coincidence that this proposal comes just a week before Obama is scheduled to address the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Annual Conference in the important swing state of Florida. "The timing is obvious," states Israel Ortega, editor of Libertad.org and analyst with the Heritage Foundation. "He wants to be able to have this talking point when he goes to them in Orlando."
It's a risky move for a President that's already seen as being politically calculating and could create a backlash among voters in industrial swing states that Obama is trying to woo. According to recent polls, voters favor immigration reform but feel the focus should be on gaining control of the border. In fact, 43 percent of voters think immigration levels should be decreased or remain at current levels.
June has been a terrible month for the President. His pro-union policies were rejected in Wisconsin, job growth has stalled and his administration has been accused of leaking classified information for political gain. Obama knows that to have a prayer of winning re-election in November he needs the support of Hispanics in swing states like Nevada, Colorado and Florida. The President is hoping that this announcement will distract Latinos from his dismal record and the floundering economy -- an economy where Latinos suffer one of the highest rates of unemployment in the country.
The constitutionality of Obama's proposal remains to be seen. It would be a shame to think that the President would put forth a law in a cynical attempt to win Hispanic support and another term in the White House knowing that it would never be upheld in the courts. Let's hope this announcement isn't just another in a long line of broken promises.
Alexis Garcia is a political producer and correspondent for PJTV.com. She also worked as a communications aide for the Giuliani and McCain-Palin 2008 presidential campaigns.