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Posted by on Apr 29, 2012 in Law, Society | 2 comments

Quote of the Day: Obama and Illegal Immigration

Our political Quote of the Day comes from The Daily Beast’s John Avlon in a post on Barack Obama and illegal immigration that needs to be read in full. Here’s the beginning:

The headline should be striking: “U.S.A. Stops Illegal Immigration from Mexico” in its tracks.

That’s an underlying insight in a study by the Pew Hispanic Center released days before the Supreme Court heard arguments over the controversial Arizona illegal-immigration law.

It represents a rare success on a contentious culture-war topic, driven in large part by economic trends that have driven down demand for undocumented labor but also by dramatically increased border enforcement under President Obama. The bottom line: a four-decade flood of illegal immigration through our southern border has been slowed to a trickle.

If this happened under a Republican president, conservatives would be celebrating. But because it has happened under Obama, the reaction has been awkward silence—from liberals as well. The facts don’t fit the established narrative.

American politics’ partisanship throughout our history has always been craven — the most glaring example of “transparency” and the most consistent. But it seems even more craven today. I predict that this kind of issue is a)why independents will remain independents and b)why the ranks of independent voters will grow in coming years. More cherries are picked in our politics now than all the cherries picked to provide cherry juice to Whole Foods. MORE:

It is fair to point out that President Obama didn’t try to pass a comprehensive immigration bill. George W. Bush was the last president to attempt it, and Mitt Romney opposed it in a 2008 pander to the far right. The word amnesty would have been slapped on anything President Obama did on this front—hell, Reagan looks like a lefty on this issue now—and so Obama chose to increase enforcement and funding instead. This falls under the category of deeds, not words.

There is some political risk in the president’s decision to get tough on deportations—ironically, from the left, particularly among immigration activists and members of the Latino community who know deportees personally. But because Romney chose to tack to the right of even Rick Perry on illegal immigration—slamming the border-state governor for backing the DREAM Act—tacking back to the center would be difficult even for this proven political contortionist. And so Romney’s current 40-point Latino vote gap is likely to endure for the foreseeable future, unless it is ameliorated by a Rubio-esque VP nominee.

Border security is a perfect example of what should be seen as a bipartisan responsibility. We should be able to agree on increasing legal immigration to our nation while decreasing illegal immigration. Here we have a rare example of data-driven good news—a long-standing problem showing signs of being solved. Again, the driving factor might be the supply and demand of economics—but aggressive enforcement is helping as well by literally raising the barriers to entry. It’s too bad we can’t recognize the progress because we are so preoccupied with the same old partisan spin in a political world where narratives matter more than facts.

Read it in its entirety.

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