This has the smell of a presidential campaign move if you ask us. President Obama hasn't really thrown too many bones to Latino voters during his first term as America's CEO, but he certainly needs a reprise of their support if has a shot at keeping the gig in 2012.
A key issue for Latinos has been immigration reform — namely some amount of amnesty for folks who've been here, followed the rules, and have legal residents here who are relatives.
This week The New York Times reported that there will be, in effect, some amnesty. An L.A. immigrants' rights group was quick to trumpet the news:
The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) issued this statement yesterday afternoon:
Because deeds always speak louder than words, we applaud the White House and DHS for following through on their commitment to be fair and consistent with their own set priorities. Given that Congress has been unwilling to take action on providing real solutions to recognizing millions without legal status, we welcome the White House intervention and its attempt to keep families together
… We will continue to press Congress to quit stalling on immigration reform for political or party gains.
This would be a deft political move on the part of the administration: It offers the benefits of amnesty without actually offering amnesty, which would present a huge target for Obama's Republican rivals, who have so-far been staunchly anti-illegal-immigrant.
According to the Times the DHS will halt deportations for “many” illegals who have no criminal record while at the same time accelerating ejections of convicted criminals.
The move was spun by the DHS as a relief valve for “overburdened immigration judges.”
It comes amid reports that illegal immigration from Mexico is at a standstill as a result of the Bush/Obama militarization of the border and our crap economy. The Los Angeles Times:
Mexican census figures show that fewer Mexicans are setting out and many are returning — leaving net migration at close to zero, Mexican officials say.
So will these developments make the illegal immigration issue less or more of a wedge for 2012?