‘I’m a Strong Believer You Have to Obey the Law’: A look ahead at Obama’s immigration policy

By Mark Krikorian on November 12, 2008

Now that we know who’s going to be in the White House and Congress next year, what are the prospects for immigration?

Despite big Democratic gains in Congress, the results aren’t as bad for the cause of immigration enforcement as a simple partisan approach to the issue might suggest. After all, one of the ways Democrats have been picking up formerly Republican seats over the past few elections has been to nominate immigration hawks like Heath Shuler of North Carolina and Brad Ellsworth of Indiana.

Roy Beck of Numbers USA has done a preliminary analysis of House results and finds that there are six incoming pro-amnesty Democrats replacing somewhat anti-amnesty Republicans, though none of the Democrats made immigration a major issue. On the other hand, three other newly elected Democrats ran on very strong pro-enforcement platforms and four others appear to be much more hawkish than the Republicans they’ll replace. In Beck’s words, “The results of this evening have not been a reason for celebrating. But neither have they been a reason for us to put on sackcloth.”

What about the Obama Administration? The president-elect’s instincts on immigration are, of course, just like those of his erstwhile opponent — let the illegals stay, loosen enforcement, increase overall immigration. When he was campaigning in the primaries, he even supported driver’s licenses for illegal aliens, probably never having met anyone in his parochial experience who thought otherwise.

But opposition to licenses for illegals is a 70-plus percent issue with the public. Despite Obama’s promise to Hispanic groups to address amnesty during his first 100 days, stepping into a steaming pile of amnesty would drain vital time and energy, a la Clinton and gays in the military, from things he cares about more, like socializing medicine and lowering sea levels. And whatever candidate Obama said about amnesty before the stock market meltdown, a proposal by President Obama to amnesty millions of illegals during the worst economic situation in decades would be a gift to the Republican minority in Congress...

Visit NRO to finish reading the Article