SAN DIEGO – When the story of Barack Obama’s presidency is finally written, I hope biographers dedicate a few pages to the 44th president’s abysmal record on the issue that seems to have most baffled him: immigration.
Right off the bat, Obama put himself on impossible footing by trying to be simultaneously compassionate and tough. He wanted to please Latinos who identify with immigrants so much that they want to give the undocumented legal status, and also union members who are so afraid of competition that they would prefer to hand them a one-way ticket out of the country.
Ultimately, Obama took care of labor and settled for trying to fool Latinos into thinking he was in their corner. In reality, he was working against their interests by deporting a record number of people.
In his first term, Obama wasted a lot of time and energy arguing with supporters who wanted him to stop deportations – or at least slow them down – and denying that he had the executive authority to act without Congress.