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While we listen to Representative Luis Gutierrez giving yet another talk for immigration reform today, the Obama Administration has slowly backed away from a firm promise, which sends us mixed signals. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano is confident that Congress can take up immigration reform in early 2010 but David Axelrod, the top political advisor to President Obama, refused to make any such commitment when he appeared on the State of the Union this past Sunday with John King:
KING: The secretary of homeland security, Janet Napolitano, says you will, early next year, come forward with a plan for comprehensive immigration reform that would have a plan in it, a path in it for an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in this country to have a pathway to status — to legal status. Will you make the political commitment that no matter what the politics of January and February, the administration will go forward with this early next year?
AXELROD: John, what the president has said is, and he said it to both Republicans and Democratic members of Congress who have worked on this issue is, come to him, let’s come together around something that both parties, or at least elements of both parties say they can agree on, so we don’t reach the same impasse we’ve reached before and then he’ll be willing to go forward on it.
I think some good work is being done on both sides of the aisle to achieve that. And Secretary Napolitano is getting that done. But what we want is a system that holds everybody responsible and everyone accountable.
If we can get a group together to give it the momentum to pass in Congress, then we’re going to push forward with it.
In other words, don’t expect President Obama to show leadership or spine on the issue of immigration reform and work actively to initiate change. He has squarely dropped the ball on Congress, which is unlikely to act without the pressure that DREAM Act-eligible youth, Ju Hong, talks about in this interview.
(Photo Credit: WhiteHouse Flickr PhotoStream, US Government Work)