When it comes to immigration, are President Obama’ s motives pure or political?
Despite the commander-in-chief’s big push for immigration reform this week, some conservatives are arguing Obama is all too happy to let the issue fester and watch the GOP continue to struggle with Hispanic voters.
Failed Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum recently argued that Obama doesn’t want true reform, telling ABC’s “This Week” that there’s not “a single Republican on Capitol Hill who believes he wants to get it done.”
The former Pennsylvania senator also insisted Obama will put forward a measure that the GOP won’t accept and when it fails to pass the president will “blame Republicans and then continue to drive a wedge between Republicans and Hispanics.”
Similarly, Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly argued earlier this month Obama doesn’t want reforms, insisting “I think he wants to destroy the Republican Party, particularly in the eyes of Hispanic American voters”, said.
“So he’s going to make it as hard as possible to get anything done and demonize you guys,” O’Reilly told Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.
Of course, Obama’s remarks on immigration on Tuesday were very similar to the plan the bipartisan group of senators –including Rubio – put forth, which calls for a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants currently living in the U.S.
The Washington Post’s Nia-Malika Henderson and the Huffington Post’s Howard Fineman dismissed the argument that Obama doesn’t want true immigration reform.
“I think his true objective has been what it always was, even going back to 2008 when he campaigned on the issue of comprehensive immigration reform. Obviously, he wasn’t able to get it done in his first term,” said Henderson.
“…I think he already won the political fight in 2012, so now it’s about his legacy and whether or not he can get this big grand bargain around immigration,” she added.
Fineman agreed. “This is part of the president’s narrative. This makes sense for the president. This is a president who comes in a sense from immigrant stock himself, who sees himself carrying America into a new demographic and a new day.”
Fineman insisted Obama’s motives were genuine. “…I think for the president to have a new birth of freedom in terms of settling this immigration issue for this generation…I think it’s something he very much cares about.”