Two weeks ago President Obama gave yet another “major” speech on immigration, this time near the southern border in El Paso, Texas. Once again he got on his high horse and presented himself as the benefactor of immigrants, reassuring everyone that he is committed to immigration reform, but blaming Congress –mainly Republicans- for the lack of action.
This act is frankly now becoming quite offensive to Latinos. Does he think we are stupid? We know that he hasn’t lifted a finger to advance the immigration issue in Congress since he took office. Nor has he engaged Republicans to build consensus for a bipartisan solution to the problem. The only thing he has done is talk just to try to get our vote.
During the ’08 presidential campaign he promised us that he would tackle immigration on the first year of his Administration. He, in fact, could have taken advantage of the big Democratic majorities he had in both House and Senate to pass a bill just like he did with Obamacare and the $1 trillion dollar so-called “stimulus” package. But, at the end, despite all his promises, he didn’t act. It was simply not a priority to him.
And now that the presidential campaign is about to begin, Obama is going back to the same strategy. The White House has already announced that the President will continue to hold meetings about immigration –of course, with everyone except the Republican leadership in Congress- and will travel the country to give more speeches about immigration reform. In other words, more talk and no action.
His speech in El Paso is a preview of his political strategy: antagonize Republicans, mock them by saying things like they want to build a moat with crocodiles across our southern border, and then lament that they are not cooperating with him on immigration. He will tell us that Republicans are our enemies and that they don’t care about immigration.
This time around, however, these theatrics are destined to fail. Latinos are tired of empty promises and have lost trust in the President. Democrats would be making a huge mistake if they were to take the Latino vote for granted in 2012.