Yes He Can, on Immigration

April 7, 2014

obamaNY Times, 4/5/14

If President Obama means what he says about wanting an immigration system that reflects American values, helps the economy and taps the yearnings of millions of Americans-in-waiting, he is going to have to do something about it — soon and on his own. It has been frustrating to watch his yes-we-can promises on immigration reform fade to protestations of impotence and the blaming of others. All Mr. Obama has been saying lately is: No, in fact, we can’t, because Republicans and the law won’t let me.

Mr. Obama is correct when he complains that long-term immigration repairs have been throttled in Congress. Neo-nativist Republicans fixated on mass deportation have blocked a worthy bipartisan bill. But Mr. Obama has compounded this failure by clinging to a coldblooded strategy of ramped-up enforcement on the same people he has promised to help through legislation that he has failed to achieve.

With nearly two million removals in the last five years, the Obama administration is deporting people at a faster pace than has taken place under any other president. This enormously costly effort was meant to win Republican support for broader reform. But all it has done is add to the burden of fear, family disruption and lack of opportunity faced by 11 million people who cannot get right with the law. Because of Mr. Obama’s enforcement blitz, more than 5,000 children have ended up in foster care.

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President Obama Meets With Latino Lawmakers About Immigration Reform

March 18, 2014

shutterstock_49320484Liberty Voice, 3/16/14

President Obama is meeting with Latino lawmakers about immigration reform. In an attempt to pacify immigration advocates, the President held a meeting of prominent Latino legislators at the White House. Democrat lawmakers such as Representative Luis Gutierrez, D-IL, Representative Ruben Hinojosa, D-TX, the current chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and House Democrat Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra, D-CA, attended the meeting and sought ways of altering current immigration laws.

The President told the congressmen that he was concerned about the pain familiessuffered when separated by immigration policies. He will be asking Homeland Secretary Jeh Johnson to explore the Department’s practices and find a humane way of dealing with illegal immigrants while staying within the confines of the law. A spokesman from the White House declined to answer how or what the government could do to alter the current policy or when Secretary Johnson was to report back to the President with his recommendations.

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Obama to get Keystone pressure from Canada’s leader, and more must-reads

February 19, 2014

120px-Tijuana-San_Diego_borderMarketWatch, 2/19/14

President Barack Obama is almost certainly about to be pressured once again by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to approve the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, USA Today reports. Obama is heading to Mexico for the one-day North American Leadership Summit, and the two leaders will meet on the sidelines. But Harper won’t likely hear anything new from his American counterpart. “I think what President Obama will do is explain to (Harper) where we are in the review of the Keystone pipeline and indicate, of course, that we will let our Canadian friends know when we’ve made a decision,” said a senior administration official.

Also on the cross-border front: Obama on Wednesday will sign an executive order mandating the completion of a government portal for small businesses to submit import and export information. The White House says the electronic portal will allow U.S. companies to better compete in the global economy. Read more about the International Trade Data System in the Hill.

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How Obamacare killed immigration reform

February 5, 2014

obamaWashington Post, 2/3/14

Barack Obama has all but conceded his lame-duck status. His State of the Union address was bereft of big ideas. And his declaration that he will use his “pen and a phone” to issue a raft of executive orders is an admission of political impotence — a presidency reduced to small-ball initiatives like creating “myRA” savings accounts and raising the minimum wage for federal contractors.

The one exception — his one last shot at a major legislative achievement — was comprehensive immigration reform. But that isn’t happening either. And the reason can be summed up in one word: Obamacare. “Comprehensive” is Washington-speak for “big.” And in the wake of the Obamacare debacle, no one is interested in anything big from Barack Obama.

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White House dials it down on immigration

January 22, 2014

White House photo by flickr user Scott AblemanPolitico, 01/21/2014

The White House is trying to dial down the partisan rhetoric on immigration — and it’s asking its allies to do the same.

In meetings with immigration reform advocates, White House officials have said President Barack Obama won’t threaten to take unilateral executive action — at least not yet — and that he wants to give House Republicans some breathing room to try to pass legislation this year, said immigration advocates who have participated in the sessions.

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Mexico, Most Visited Country By President Obama After February Trip

January 16, 2014

ObamaLatin Times, 01/14/2014

Reuters reported on Monday that President Barack Obama will travel on February 19 to Toluca, Mexico, where he will meet with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto at a summit of North American leaders.  When Obama touches down on Mexican soil, Animal Politico notes, it will be the fifth time since he entered the White House in 2008 that the president has done so, making Mexico the country he has most frequently visited – eclipsing France, to which he has traveled on four occasions.

The first two visits came in 2009, during the tenure of now-ex-president Felipe Calderón, with whom Obama discussed US-Mexico cooperation on the war against drugs and responses to the financial crisis in which the United States remained sunk.  Nearly three years later, in 2012, they met again to talk another financial crisis – the one over European debt – but last May, when newly elected Peña Nieto greeted Obama, there was much talk of turning the page in US-Mexico relations.  Peña Nieto had campaigned on a promise to scale back the military presence in hotbeds of cartel activity and aim less for high-profile kingpin arrests – which often triggered fights for control in the power vacuums it left – than his predecessor.

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Obama to head to Mexico in February

January 16, 2014

obama_nieto_featureThe Washington Times, 01/13/2014

President Obama will travel to Toluca, Mexico, on Feb. 19 for a meeting with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the White House announced Monday.

The gathering of North American leaders will focus on “issues important to the daily lives of all of North America’s people, including economic competitiveness, entrepreneurship, trade and investment and citizen security,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters

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Turning the Tide on Deportations?

January 16, 2014

hands in handcuffsAULA Blog, 01/16/2014

U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) recently released statistics showing that deportations in fiscal year 2013 hit an all-time low since Obama took office in 2009, but the drop is apparently not yet a harbinger of a policy shift.  Removals fell slightly from a record high of 410,000 in 2012 to just under 370,000.  News of the first decline during Obama’s tenure comes as he has been under growing pressure from immigration advocates and some members of Congress to use his executive powers to bring removals to a halt.  But the slight decline can be attributed to several factors:

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Controversial nomination at Department of Homeland Security goes to Senate floor

December 12, 2013

500px-US_Department_of_Homeland_Security_Seal.svgThe Washington Post, 12/11/2013

President Obama’s nominee for the No. 2 spot at the Department of Homeland Security advanced to the full Senate for consideration after winning a vote Wednesday from a deeply divided Senate panel.

The Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee made a party-line decision after a Republican senator unsuccessfully sought a delay, in part by revealing previously undisclosed official findings of problems with a visa program the nominee administers.

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Obama Calls for Quick Action on Immigration, and So Does a Heckler

November 26, 2013

obamaThe New York Times, 11/25/2013

President Obama is often heckled, but it is rare for a guest who is part of a White House-approved backdrop to shout out a protest while the president is in mid-speech.

But that is what happened here on Monday when Mr. Obama called on Congress to pass an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws.

“Mr. Obama, my family has been separated for 19 months now!” yelled a young man who stood with others on the riser behind the president at the Betty Ann Ong Chinese Recreation Center.

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