Obama immigration interview: he'd make situation far worse (Kevin Johnson/UC Davis)
Professors Kevin Johnson (lawprofessors.typepad.com/immigration), Jennifer Chacon, and Bill Hing of UC Davis have scored a true coup for the blogosphere: an interview about immigration with Barack Obama! Of course, it probably helped that all three of them "have served as members of an Immigration Policy Group for the Obama campaign". Another help was that the questions are complete puffballs and they didn't have any followup questions despite the answers being mostly stock replies and full of holes. I suspect that the "interview" (http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/immigration/2007/09/exclusive-barac.html) was conducted via email and with a staffer, perhaps with the staffer simply copying and pasting from past Obama statements.
The interview does, however, reveal that Obama would make things even worse than previously suspected.
I will not stop pushing Congress to pass comprehensive reform this year... [opposes point-based immigration] We also need to bring the 12 million undocumented immigrants out of the shadows. We need to be realistic about the fact that they are here, we can't deport them, and they have become an integral part of our society. [standard amnesty provision blather, says he'll work for amnesty in first year of his term]
There are mostly likely more than 12 million here, and while we can't deport all of them tomorrow we can cause a large percentage to go home simply by enforcing our laws. He should have been called at least on that.
[reiterates opposition to point-based system, drops name of Senator Menendez]... The point system instead of family visas betrays American family values, the same values that the family-based preferences in our immigration law are designed to enforce. It gave no preference to an immigrant with a brother or sister or even a parent who is a United States citizen unless the immigrant met some minimum and arbitrary threshold on education and skills.
Maybe it's in our best interests as a country to bring in those who do in fact have something above a grammar school education and who have some skills so they can contribute to the U.S. I guess that decreases the likelihood that they'd vote Democratic, so what's in the best interests of the U.S. flies right out the window.
[Johnson et al falsely imply that increased enforcement leads to border deaths; in his response, Obama dances around his forced support for the fence and slightly contradicts them on their implication but is afraid to take them on on that issue.] ...Additional fencing on the border is not a comprehensive solution, but it sometimes helps deter people from taking the risk of entering illegally.
His response to the question of what to do about Elvira Arellano is such a classic of political doublespeak that I'll include it in full:
I've met with Elvira Arellano and her son, and I understand the challenges that they and millions of other undocumented immigrants face. Although I do not condone Ms. Arellano's defiance of the law, her plight is representative of a broken immigration system. [copy and paste begins] We need comprehensive immigration reform that creates a system that is fair, consistent, compassionate, and emphasizes both maintaining the rule of law and the security of our borders while working to keep families together. I will not stop pushing Congress to pass comprehensive reform this year. Part of this issue involves family reunification, an issue which I have fought for in the Senate, most recently working with Senator Menendez and others during the most recent debate to ensure that families were not left out of immigration reform. If President Bush cannot lead on this issue, I will, by reviving our national discussion on comprehensive reform in my first year in the White House and working diligently toward a solution rooted in pragmatism, the rule of law, and our history as a nation of immigrants.
Note that everything after the first two sentences is basically a copy and paste from what "Obama" (or his staffer) "said" earlier in the "interview".
More copying-and-pasting ensues in the response to the question about Hazleton, PA; that brackets this:
[...supports "comprehensive reform"...] The anti-immigrant law passed by Mayor Barletta was unconstitutional and unworkable – and it underscores the need for comprehensive immigration reform so local communities do not continue to take matters into their own hands... [...supports "comprehensive reform"...]
His response to the final question, one about assimilation, is vague
although it contains an anti-Obama nugget at the end. He says he wants to pass the anti-American DREAM Act and then throws in his other plans just for a bonus: establishing universal healthcare, ending the Iraq war, etc., etc. Then, he drops the name of Luis Gutierrez, with whom he wrote the Citizenship Promotion Act. See the link for the issues with that. Then, he goes off on an education tear, with a Latino emphasis. Then, a bit of a bombshell:
I am a supporter of transitional bilingual education to help our English language learners thrive.
From that I assume he supports allowing the Mexican government to spread their propaganda to U.S. public school children.
That shouldn't come as a surprise, considering that he marched in the May 1, 2006 illegal immigration march in Chicago, the one that was organized by several people linked to the Mexican government and Mexican political parties.
The bottom line is this: he would be a complete disaster as president. What we can do about this is go to his campaign appearances and ask him real questions (the kind that Kevin Johnson et al won't), and then upload his responses. That will help further reduce his popularity, it will put pressure on his competitors to reform their stances on immigration, and it will also help put pressure on the MSM and on academic hacks to ask real questions.
UPDATE: Sometimes even I reach MSM levels. I misread his statement above regarding bilingual education as "transnational" rather than the "transitional" that he actually said. Supporting the second is certainly problematic, but not anywhere near as problematic as supporting what I originally thought.