From Timothy Bauer
Here is link to the story below.
Forgotten issue: Illegal immigration is off the national radar
Saturday, November 01, 2008
Just as stocks go up and down according to the demands of the market, political issues soar and plummet according to changing circumstances. Even so, the disappearance of immigration from the national debate this election season is startling.
To be sure, immigration reform has not been completely forgotten and the issue still incites passions in pockets of the country. In the 11th Congressional District in Eastern Pennsylvania, for example, Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta, the Republican candidate, has a strong chance of parlaying the national publicity he received for cracking down on illegal immigrants into an upset of the 12-term Democratic incumbent, Rep. Paul Kanjorski.
But on the national stage immigration reform has hardly been heard from, at least in the mainstream. As The New York Times reported Wednesday in a story headlined “Immigration Cools as Campaign Issue,” the candidates rarely talk about immigration and it was not discussed in the debates.
Part of that reflects the fact that both Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama have views on this issue that don’t endear them to the hard-core anti-immigrant camp. Mr. McCain famously worked with Sen. Ted Kennedy to produce a comprehensive immigration reform package, although he ended up pulling back his support of his own bill after the demagogues became active. Still, he remains sympathetic to immigrants.
In fact, both candidates want to secure the borders and crack down on employers of illegal immigrants. They also support some legal process that would allow illegals to pay fines and be put on a path to citizenship.
For both Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama, there’s not much political upside in debating something that so recently has been politically explosive. The main exception, as the Times pointed out, is in the Spanish language media, where both candidates have tried to position themselves as the best choice for immigrant constituencies.
The existence of significant numbers of Hispanics in states like California, Colorado, Florida, Nevada and New Mexico is why recent anti-immigrant obsessions haven’t translated well into national politics: It spells long-term political suicide for any party that goes truly nativist. To its credit, the Bush administration realized this and tried to do something about it
That effort needs to be revived by the next president, whoever he may be: While it may be inconvenient and embarrassing to talk about immigration reform now, which is a pity, the issue itself is not going away.
First published on November 1, 2008 at 12:00 am