Thursday, October 07, 2010

Obama, immigration and the Latino vote

The ever-alert David Dayen relies on the information in this Homeland Security press release, Secretary Napolitano Announces Record-breaking Immigration Enforcement Statistics Achieved under the Obama Administration10/06/2010 to make an informed speculation about Latino voter skepticism about the Democrats nationally in Obama Administration’s Deportations of Undocumented Immigrants Hit New Record Firedoglake News Desk 10/07/2010:

Many pundits think that the reason for President Obama's softening numbers in the Latino community can be attributed to broken promises on immigration legislation. I think that's unlikely, actually, and the fact that the DREAM Act got a vote at the end of the session at least can make a plausible case that Democrats tried. What drives this much more strongly, in my view, is the sharp spike in deportations under this Administration. Communities are being ripped apart. ...

What's depressing about this is that Republicans continue to accuse the White House of being soft on the border and soft on "illegal immigrants." The facts don't matter whatsoever. Yet Latinos understand the facts all too well, they see it in their communities every single day. There's some evidence to suggest that the deportations fall more heavily on undocumenteds with criminal records, but the fact remains that a higher rate of people have been expelled from the country under Obama than under Bush. It's hard to say that has no impact on those Latino voter numbers, one way or the other.
Obama may be sending a thrill up David Broder's leg with this "bipartisan" policy, i.e., doing what the Republicans say should be done. But it's a terrible reminder of both a cruel, wrong-headed immigration policy and of the Obama Administration's unwillingness to actively pursue comprehensive immigration reform, a policy which would both be humane and sensible in itself, and also build the Democratic Party's base long-term.

That's the result of the kind of policy he's pursuing in this area. Why it's so is another question. But I'm sure it has a lot to do with Obama's pursuit of a phantom "centrist" vote, using the dubious assumption the Democrats have been applying for 20 years or more.

Returning to the subject of my previous post, Jerry Brown's approach is politically having a very different, and for the Democrats more positive, effect in his gubernatorial race against eMeg Whitman. See How Did the Armies of eMeg Blow the Nicky Story? Calbuzz 10/06/2010.

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