Thursday, May 12, 2011

Obama heckled as he tries to woo Hispanic voters by hailing importance of immigrants to U.S.

President Obama was heckled as he made a blatant attempt to woo Hispanic voters today by hailing the importance of immigrants to the American economy. Speaking in El Paso, Texas, close to Mexican the border, the President pledged to escalate legislation that would offer a pathway to the nation’s millions of illegal immigrants.

But the President also claimed border controls between the U.S. and Mexico had never been more stringent.

Obama said:'We define ourselves as a nation of immigrants - a nation that welcomes those willing to embrace America’s precepts. 'It doesn’t matter where you come from. What matters is that you believe in the ideals on which we were founded, that you believe all of us are equal. In embracing America, you can become American. That is what makes this country great.'

The President was broadly cheered by supporters as he told how immigrants were an essential part of the economic recovery and said he wanted to offer a path to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants.

But he was then heckled as he made reference to the 'fence' between the U.S. and Mexico, with shouts of 'tear it down' from the crowd.

In scenes unusual for such a campaign-style event, supporters attempted to drown out jeers from opponents of immigration by chanting, 'Yes we can'.

The speech came as immigration is widely expected to become a key issue in the 2010 presidential election as both Democrats and Republicans seek to use it to their own advantage. A number of states, including Arizona, have been moving in the opposite direction of the President by making it easier to deport people in the U.S. illegally.

On his first trip to the U.S.-Mexico border since becoming president, Obama declared it was more secure than ever before. He boasted of increasing border patrol agents, nearing completion of a border fence and screening more cargo.

Obama claimed that fewer arrests of illegal immigrants showed that 'far fewer people are attempting to cross the border illegally'. 'Even as we have stepped up patrols, apprehensions along the border have been cut by nearly 40 per cent from two years ago,' said Obama.

But local police chiefs have alleged that they have been told to stop arresting illegal immigrants on the border to keep official figures down.

An Arizona sheriff last month said Border Patrol agents have told dozens of law enforcement officers to instead chase the immigrants back towards Mexico. Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever said he had been 'flooded' with emails from officers supporting his claims.

The President sought to blame Republicans for standing in the way of immigration legislation as he sought to appease Hispanic voters.

Many Hispanics have voiced concerns about the administration's heavy deportations and feel Obama never made good on his promise to prioritise immigration legislation during his first year in office.

Obama predicted Republicans would seek to block his new immigration reform drive, quipping they would demand alligators in a moat around America's borders.

'We have gone above and beyond what was requested by the very Republicans who said they supported broader reform as long as we got serious about enforcement,' Obama said, at the southern US border in El Paso, Texas.

'Even though we've answered these concerns, I have got to say I suspect there are still going to be some who are trying to move the goalposts on us one more time.

'They'll say we need to triple the border patrol. Now they will say we will need to quadruple the border patrol. Or they will want a higher fence. 'Maybe they'll need a moat. Maybe they will want alligators in the moat - they'll never be satisfied, and I understand that. That's politics.'

Few political observers believe there is any chance that a comprehensive immigration reform bill will pass this year, so Obama has been accused of bringing it up to seek favour with Hispanics and to hurt Republicans.

But White House aides insisted the President felt a sense of urgency about illegal immigration and wanted to spur Congress into action. 'It's easier for politicians to defer the problem until after the next election, and there's always a next election,' Obama said. 'So we've seen a lot blame and politics and a lot of ugly rhetoric.

'We've seen leaders of both parties who tried to work on this issue and then their efforts fell prey to the usual Washington games. And all the while, we've seen the mounting consequences of decades of inaction.'

Obama said that the U.S. had 'strengthened border security beyond what many believed was possible'. He said: 'They wanted more agents on the border. Well, we now have more boots on the ground on the southwest border than at any time in our history.

'The Border Patrol has 20,000 agents – more than twice as many as there were in 2004, a build up that began under President Bush and that we have continued.'

The President said that immigration reform would help make America more competitive in the global economy. He argued that the middle class would benefit from bringing illegal immigrants out of an underground economy and drawing on the abilities of immigrants educated in American universities.

He said: 'Look at Intel and Google and Yahoo and eBay – these are great American companies that have created countless jobs and helped us lead the world in high-tech industries. [And how many illegals work in those firms??]

Every one was founded by an immigrant. We don’t want the next Intel or Google to be created in China or India. We want those companies and jobs to take root in America.

He pledged to 'make it easier for the best and the brightest to not only study here, but also to start businesses and create jobs here'. He said: 'In recent years, a full 25 per cent of high-tech startups in the U.S. were founded by immigrants, leading to more than 200,000 jobs in America. I’m glad those jobs are here. And I want to see more of them created in this country.'

Republicans disputed Obama's contention that the border has been effectively secured and accused him of playing politics in pursuit of the ever-growing Hispanic electorate ahead of the 2012 presidential election.

'The President's off talking about comprehensive reform. We've been down that road before,' Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told reporters. 'I believe, in turn, we should do things that actually produce some progress and results.'


The Amnesty Bandwagon Rolls Again

Michelle Malkin

The public relations campaign for President Obama's latest revival of "immigration reform" makes one thing crystal clear: This is not, and never has been, about homeland security. This is not, and never has been, about economic security. It's about political security, plain and cynical.

In conjunction with Tuesday's renewed White House push in Texas for a "new pathway to citizenship" for millions of illegal immigrants, disgruntled Latino activists are ratcheting up their radical anti-enforcement rhetoric. Illinois Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez -- a persistent critic on Obama's left flank -- lambasted federal workplace enforcement raids this weekend. On Sunday, he repeated his hyperbolic attacks on homeland security agents "terrorizing" neighborhoods and ripping babies from the breasts of nursing moms. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano made no public effort to defend her employees.

On campuses across the country, unhappy ethnic college student groups have turned up the heat on Democrats to resurrect the "DREAM Act" nightmare for the 12th time in a decade. The legislation -- persistently rejected by a bipartisan majority on Capitol Hill -- would provide illegal aliens (not just teenagers, but students up to age 35) federal education access and benefits, plus a conditional pass from deportation and a special path toward green cards and U.S. citizenship for themselves and unlimited relatives.

Obama argues that his comprehensive amnesty plan would boost America's bottom line. But the open-borders math doesn't add up. The Congressional Budget Office score of the last DREAM Act package estimates that "the bill would increase projected deficits by more than $5 billion in at least one of the four consecutive 10-year periods starting in 2021." And that doesn't include the costs of the unlimited family members the millions of DREAM Act beneficiaries would be able to bring to the U.S. A separate cost analysis by the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Immigration Studies concluded that the illegal alien DREAM Act bailout would cost taxpayers $6.2 billion a year and "crowd out" U.S. students in the classroom.

To help gloss over those sobering realities and blur the lines between legal and illegal immigration, Obama summoned Latino celebrities such as actresses Eva Longoria and Rosario Dawson. The starlets -- deemed important "stakeholders" in the immigration policy debate by the celebrity in chief -- have served as glamorous distractions from the vocal complaints of Southwest governors, ranchers, farmers and other victims of continued border chaos. These are the real stakeholders whose lives and livelihoods are at risk. But none had a seat at the Hollywood-filled table.

While proudly emphasizing her ethnic loyalties, Dawson (an outspoken critic of Arizona's immigration enforcement law) insists immigration reform "isn't just a Mexican" or Latino issue. But for more candid liberal strategists, the illegal alien amnesty bandwagon is nothing more than a tool to motivate current and future Latinos to protect the Democrats' grip on power. Eliseo Medina, secretary treasurer of Obama's deep-pocketed backers at the Service Employees International Union, laid out the stakes in an interview with MSNBC:

"Clearly with immigration reform and any other kind of reform that would benefit the Latino community, we have to make sure that our voices are heard in the ballot box. There are approximately 23 million Latinos that are eligible to vote, yet only 10 million voted in 2008."

SEIU's goal: "If we increase the turnout from 10 million to anywhere between 12 and 15 million, we're going to have an outsized impact on the election in 2012."

If, as widely expected, Obama fails to deliver amnesty through the legislative process, there's always amnesty by executive fiat. White House insiders first floated the idea in June 2010 to unilaterally extend either deferred action or parole to millions of illegal aliens in the United States. This administration has accomplished its major policy agenda items through force, fiat and fraud. Immigration will be no different.

Unfortunately for the law-abiding, there is no Hollywood-Washington-Big Labor lobby to speak for them. While Obama's homeland security officials hang their "mission accomplished" banner over the border, the feds have barely made a dent in the three-year naturalization application backlog or the 400,000-deportation fugitive problem.

Meanwhile, law enforcement witnesses told a House subcommittee last month that border smuggling has grown so out of control that federal prosecutors are simply declining to pursue cases. Cochise County, Arizona, Sheriff Larry Dever testified about the feds' so-called "Turn Back South" policy -- which includes lowering thresholds for drug and smuggling prosecutions, and permitting border-crossers at least seven strikes before being charged with immigration misdemeanors. And just last week, the General Accounting Office reported another massive 1.6 million illegal visa overstayers backlog -- a problem exposed by five of the 19 September 11 hijackers who benefited from systemic failure to enforce visa regulations.

So much for "never forget."


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