William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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COMMON SENSE – AT 9:05 A.M. ET:  There's a big debate brewing on the illegal-immigration issue.  The Hill reports that negotiators from both parties in the House are about to come forward with their own plan, several weeks after Senate negotiators proposed one.

So far, President Obama, who should be leading responsibly on the contentious issue, is making speeches about it that could have come out of one of his political campaigns.  Sometimes I think his objective is to have no solution at all, blame the Republicans, and keep the Hispanic vote in the Democratic column.  The White House has seen the polls showing that the nomination of Marco Rubio for president on the GOP ticket in 2016 would cut substantially into the normally solid Hispanic Democratic vote.

The American people are expressing their own views on the issue.  As usual, they have more common sense than the politicians.  From The Hill: 

A strong majority of voters oppose the deportation of people living in the United States illegally, but an equally large share of the electorate thinks that the nation’s borders are not as secure as they should be, according to the results of a new poll for The Hill.

The findings underline the complexity of an issue that has taken center-stage since President Obama and a bipartisan group of senators put forward separate proposals for comprehensive immigration reform last week.

A decisive 64 percent of respondents in The Hill Poll said illegal immigrants should be allowed to stay in the country, with 47 percent supporting the additional step of creating a pathway to citizenship for the same people.

By contrast, only 27 percent of voters called for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants to be deported.

But exactly the same share of voters — 64 percent — asserted that the borders of the United States are either “not very secure” or “not secure at all.”

The latter finding could be a sign that the Senate’s plan might be the more popular, because it would make the citizenship benefits “contingent upon securing the border.”

COMMENT:  Good point.  Obama, crazily, rejects the notion that border security should be a key point in any immigration plan.  Congressional Republicans insist on it.  That will be one element of a clash ahead.  The American people appear to be on the Republican side.  But Republicans must hold their ground and not cave in, their usual practice despite the viciousness they're bound to endure from this very vindictive White House.   

February 4, 2013