Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it. President Obama got his wish: he got reelected. The American electorate gave him the White House and the Senate but not the Congress. The voters did not give him a mandate; their message pretty much was to maintain the status quo. The segment of the electorate that did in fact give him a mandate was the Hispanic community and that is -- immigration reform.
If in fact, the President feels as bad as he said he did when he was campaigning for reelection that immigration reform was the one item he regretted not accomplishing, then, it stands to reason that we will see a blueprint for immigration reform legislation within his first 100 days in office, four years later, but who is counting?
The American public has been sold the notion that it is the Republicans who oppose immigration reform
- Rosario Marín
I am not the betting kind, but I would venture to say that the meeting that took place right after his reelection with the labor leaders was in part to test their appetite for that kind of reform. Labor has been steadfast in their opposition to immigration reform, especially the guest worker program. Yet no one would know that. The American public has been sold the notion that it is the Republicans who oppose immigration reform.
The Democrats have been extremely successful in hiding the real challenges they face within the labor movement when it comes to immigration reform. Of course the Republicans with their very offensive rhetoric have made it especially easier for the Democrats to put all the blame on them. But now is the time to put up or shut up.
It was Harry Reid who very craftily stopped immigration reform back in 2007. The compromise had been worked out by Senators Ted Kennedy and John McCain. It was then Senator Barack Obama who, to satisfy his labor allies, supported the poison pill that ultimately was responsible for the demise of the legislation; but one would never know that from all the media reports.
Now it is the time to use all the political skills you have acquired Mr. President, for you will have warring two of your most loyal supporters, labor and the Hispanic community.
While the Democrats have outfoxed the Republicans on the issue of immigration time and again; it is now time for the President to take the lead. If the Republicans can keep their mouths closed and not utter mindless rhetoric, who knows, together they could actually achieve real reform for the 12 million people who are here undocumented.
It will be a good thing to have this one issue behind all of us; we can then focus on issues like the economy, the deficit, and the role of government. These issues have a real impact on the other 38 million Hispanics but they have not had a real hearing because immigration has muddled the discussion.
Immigration reform is a wish the Hispanic community truly deserves to be granted.
Rosario Marin was the 41st Treasurer of the United States and is co-chair of the American Competitiveness Alliance.