Although it’s still a little early to interpret all the clues, it looks like major immigration reform is not going to be talked about much by either President Obama or Republican candidate Mitt Romney as the fall elections heat up.
So far both parties seem to be following the same game plan they followed in 2008. A deal then was agreed to by both the Democrats and the Republicans to keep debate about immigration reform limited to a spitting contest between which national party held the strongest position on Mexican border security.
Two approaches in 2008 were used in the debates between Obama and presidential candidate John McCain. First, all immigration policy and reform was shrink wrapped into a discussion of “operational security” along the Mexican border. And second, all political debate centered which party demonstrated the strongest intent in attaining “operational security” along the Mexican border.
So far, here we go again in 2012. Last fall President Obama’s Customs and Border Protection agency published, sort of, it’s new 2012-2016 National Strategy. In short, CBP demonstrated its progress to date in achieving “operational security” along the Mexican border along with new goals for the next five years. At the same time it bragged about its achievements along all coastlines and the northern border with Canada, most recently publishing a separate report on future security intentions along the Canadian border.
Not to be outdone the Republican controlled House last month passed the “Secure Border Act”, demanding “operational control” of all American borders within five years. This bill also calls for a national lab to step into the political fray to define “operational control” rather than CBP’s current contractor.
Both parties have agreed that our national immigration policy needs to be reformed. But at the same time both political parties are ducking the major immigration issues in favor of focusing on what they appear to have agreed behind closed doors to discuss during the presidential campaigns.
Just like they did in 2008.