President Barack Obama is set to reject the key compromise at the heart of a bipartisan deal on immigration reform announced by eight Senators yesterday. The president, who will deliver an address later today in Las Vegas, NV outlining his own immigration ideas, is reported to oppose linking a “path to citizenship” for illegal immigrants, a Democrat demand, to stronger law enforcement and better border security, a Republican demand.
The president will apparently argue that the administration has met reasonable goals on enforcing current immigration legislation, and that additional security will merely create new obstacles to legalizing the roughly 12 million illegal immigrants thought to be living in the United States. The federal government accelerated deportations in the first years of the Obama presidency, and sent new personnel to patrol the southwestern border.
By rejecting the citizenship-for-security compromise, the president may hope to focus media criticism on Republicans in Congress, who largely oppose a new amnesty for illegal immigrants. If the past is any indication, Obama will use that opposition to label Republicans as racist.
Once again, politics will trump progress–and Republicans, who were split on the Senate deal, may well thank Obama for sparing them a difficult choice.