LatinaLista — When President Obama first started holding his White House immigration meetings, there was some confusion as to who was leading the discussions: President Obama or President Obama the 2012 political candidate.
I say this because there was no indication from the White House that President Obama was going to tackle immigration reform until after he announced his re-election campaign and his staffers started hearing some dissatisfied rumblings from within the Latino community.
Suddenly, immigration reform took front and center in this administration.
While immigration reform is as thorny, and I would say even thornier, than healthcare reform, I have yet to see President Obama lead the way on this issue as he’s done with others. In the past, we have been privy to see how President Obama advocates for issues he believes in. He made no excuses when advocating for healthcare reform and his lobbying efforts rivaled those of the most seasoned lobbyers in DC.
A glimpse of that kind of effort materialized in the 11th hour of the DREAM Act debate in the Senate. Whether the phone calls came too late or the GOP opposition was just too tough, it will remain a toss-up as to what torpedoed the issue in the end.
Yet, this time around it almost seems like a replay of that 11th hour try to get the DREAM Act passed though there’s definitely more lead time in this case. In addition to holding his meetings, the President’s staff is holding community meetings across the country. The President is even traveling to the Texas/Mexico border at El Paso tomorrow to speak about immigration reform.
A border visit isn’t something he has done since he was Barack Obama the political candidate when he promised to solve the immigration issue within his first year of office.
Presidential candidate Obama in the 2008 campaign promised to make Immigration Reform a priority during his first year in office and with this promise, the Hispanic vote surged from 7.8 million in 2004 to 10 million in 2008 and swung eight percentage points toward the Democrats.
It’s hoped that when he speaks tomorrow he is President Barack Obama and not just an incumbent getting an early start on a campaign.