Immigration Reform? It's a Distraction

Immigration Reform? It's a Distraction

By David Harsanyi - May 11, 2011

Immigration reform, huh? Well, President Obama did recently consult with Eva Longoria on this formidable policy conundrum. As goes Longoria, so goes the nation.

Then again, it certainly seems like a peculiar time to spring this divisive topic on the American people. Especially when we know full well that reform has a stimulus's chance of success.

And weren't we just talking about the $14 trillion debt? The budget you didn't pass? Thuggery against Boeing? Debt ceilings? Medicare? According to a new NBC News poll, 58 percent of Americans disapprove of Obama's handling of the economy -- an all-time high. So perhaps the discussion wasn't helpful to the most vital imperative: electing Obama.

Remember that Obama promised to fight for reform legislation in his first year in office. Instead, Democrats used historic supremacy to cram through a number of legislative items that divided the nation -- but no immigration policy. Latinos are imperative to presidents when running for office, less so when in it. Now, in the middle of the most consequential fiscal debate the nation has faced in memory, the administration shifts to immigration reform? We can guess why.

Other than a superb distraction for average Americans, the debate doubtlessly ignites passion on the left. Immigration reform is also a useful cluster bomb to drop within a shaky right-center alliance cracking with libertarian-traditional-business splits on the matter. The right tends to turn on itself whenever immigration is at issue. At the Mexican border this week, Obama made sure to mention the support of Mel Martinez, Michael Chertoff, Michael Bloomberg and Rupert Murdoch. "He doesn't have an Obama sticker on his car," the president explained (speaking for others has become his routine), "but he agrees with me on this."

So what? A lot of us agree with you in principle. The timing and intent of the discussion, however, are what should make it irrelevant.

Tangentially, an immigration discussion also opens a door for the administration to, once again, tacitly accuse opponents of being racist swine. An administration official explained to ABC News, presumably without laughing, that the president was only attempting to elevate the debate. The same president who later went on to claim that Republicans may "need a moat, maybe they'll need alligators" to be satisfied on the border.

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David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist. Follow him on Twitter @davidharsanyi.

Copyright 2011, Creators Syndicate Inc.

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