George W. Obama Part 8: Immigration

In a far-too-late attempt to shore up his conservative base ahead of the 2006 massacre, President Bush sent 6,000 National Guard troops to the Mexican border, but placed major limits on what they could do. Now, with the immigration debate hot again because of the Arizona bill, President Obama is making a similar move and is sending 1,200 National Guard troops.

Even The Associated Press is reporting on the similarities:

“The 6,000 troops who were sent by President George W. Bush to the border from June 2006 to July 2008 were generally credited within law enforcement circles as having helped improve border security, but restrictions placed on the soldiers were denounced by advocates for tougher enforcement who are now leveling similar objections at Obama’s plan.

Some law enforcement officials along the border said they worry that Obama will repeat Bush’s mistake by limiting the troops to support roles, such as conducting surveillance and installing lighting, rather than letting them make arrests and confront smugglers.”

The very name of the National Guard proves that this is a task that they should be performing if Customs and Border Protection is unable. In a post-9/11 world, it is simply unthinkable that the border would be left open as it currently is—well, I guess it’s unthinkable until you think of the GOP’s need to win Hispanic votes. With the minority vote growing so quickly, and the Caucasian vote divided between the two parties, the GOP’s survival actually depends upon making progress among Hispanics.

It’s a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t situation for GOP politicians. If they do nothing, as Bush did, the conservative base will justifiably scream at them. If they do something, they contribute to a loss of support among Hispanics that not only threatens their careers, but the fate of their party. Man, I love not being a politician!

  • Democracy First

    Certainly a GOP dilemma, needing to win the Hispanic vote, so inclined to leave the border fairly open, But needing to shore up the base, which demands it be sealed.

    And yet, polls show Arizon'a law overwhelmingly supported there and throughout all the country.

    Could be the GOP will lose half its Hispanic vote, but gain others in equal or greater numbers.

    Could be, as they say in Quebec, un beau risque (a beautiful risk).

    Ultimately, the GOP will have to find a true American patriot Hispanic for the presidential nomination. Such a person can argue the merits of closing the border, both for the nation and for the benefit of all Americans, including Hispanics. He or she can induce American patriotism and identity amongst the Hispanic community, such that there will be more willingness to support pro-American immigration policies. This person can argue practical reasons too, without being smeared as a racist. Jobs, s/he will say, need to be protected. The streets need to be made safer. The soul of a nation can only be ripped when the borders aren`t sacrosanct.