Sorry, Barack. The Next Biggie is Immigration

Posted on January 20, 2010

You can only feel sorry for Barack Obama.  Time and circumstance have not been on his side of late. Neither has is own inability to sort out priorities. He may have slowed the parade of his policies into the legislative halls in Congress, but much of his agenda is already in legislative form and ready to roll.  Just today, we learned there is a bill in the Senate that would see a government takeover of all student loans for higher education. Gulp.

A bill currently before the Senate would empower the Obama administration to nationalize the student lending industry, eliminating the federally subsidized private loans millions of university students rely on to finance their educations.

The Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act – currently being considered by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee – would eliminate the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program. FFEL loans are federally subsidized and make up approximately 80 percent of the student lending industry. []

Post Massachusetts massacre, he has slowed the health care legislative push until Scott Brown can be seated, but he clings tenaciously to it’s passage quickly thereafter.  While January 19th may have been a body blow to Barack, he is about to see that a powerful Earthquake in Haiti can cause far greater political destruction on the home front. Another game changer is staring him down with the question: what are you going to do when half the island population wants to join relatives in the US?

Just today, US authorities are getting out the word that Hatians on island should stay where they are. []  But what if this earthquake had been in, say Mexico?  Would Mexicans heed the word to stay put rather than try to walk to the US?  Hardly.

The upshot of all of this is that geographic location as much as anything dictates immigration policy. It remains to be seen if the Administration can hold to this Hatian emergency policy if pressure builds to let people leave for humanitarian as well as for reasons of personal preference.  The Administration might be up for some criticism from the UN or from other countries for being too restrictive – especially if other countries are opening their doors.

Then, too, there is the argument that if Mexican nationals are streaming in illegally and have been given preferential treatment (less so than the Cubans), then why not let them come here. Surely there are diseases being ferried here from Mexico and Cuba – and in the reverse direction!  Clearly, we do need to have a policy in place that can guide us when a natural disaster happens on our doorstep.

Most thinking people knew from the start of the health care debate that immigration issue should have been taken up BEFORE health care because it keeps popping up and stopping progress during debate.  It is an integral part of any health care solution. But Obama and Company had their agenda clearly stated on the pages of Organizing for America and they wouldn’t want to take down a perfectly good web page for revision.

Now it seems that current natural events in Haiti have put Mr. Obama on the receiving end of a teachable moment of epic proportion. From the depths of a 6.0 aftershock today some thought they heard a voice say: “let me be clear. I’m God; you’re just a President. Let my people go.”


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