House Speaker John Boehner last week said immigration reform was dead because Republicans could no longer trust President Obama to enforce any law they passed. Their big issue is enforcement. In fact, you stil hear some Republicans say they can pass some legislation right now — on border security.
But the facts are that nobody has done more on border security than President Obama since the last immigration bill was passed in the mid 1980s. As Ron Fournier of the National Journal writes today, the Obama administration has deported nearly as many people as were deported between 1892 and 1997.
Yesterday New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer tried to call Boehner's bluff, saying on Meet The Press that Congress should pass an immigration law this year, but not allow it to start taking effect until 2017 — when the president has retired and living back in Chicago.
A Boehner spokesman basically dismissed the idea, but why not look further into it? Either way, but if immigration reform doesn't happen this year, analysts say it definitely won't happen in the next two years.
The GOP itself is badly divided on this issue, and may always be. Even advocates of immigration reform in the past, like William Kristol, are backing off that notion now. Why? Cause things are going pretty good for their party (or so they think). Obamacare is hurting the Dems, so why do something that might alienate their own base? Play "four corners," as David Plouffe said yesterday, run out the clock, and win back the Senate this fall.
And then what? And this about this: How sad is it that Democrats who support such a bill are basically acknowledging that at best the plan wouldn't kick in for three more years?
Meanwhile, the local dailies came out with their endorsements (or recommendations, in Times-speak) in the CD13 race. Not surprisingly, the Times is backing Alex Sink, the Tribune David Jolly. Both argued that the other candidate is inappropriate to represent Pinellas County in D.C. Which means it will be all about turnout in this evenly divided district.
Last Friday morning the Yes on Greenlight political action committee held their initial event. The group says they'll be grassroots and won't be doing "glitzy" TV ads to sell the Greenlight Pinellas initiative to Pinellas County voters, but let's see if they're still maintaining that stance if the polls are tight on the transit tax come October..
And there are some very interesting things are happening down at City Hall in St. Petersburg, as Ellen Kirkland reports.