Russell Pearce's Immigration Bill Moving President Barack Obama to Act on Immigration Reform? Nah, Doesn't Look Like It

Hard to fathom that there could be 
pearce russell senate floor.jpg
Russell Pearce
anything positive about state Senator Russell Pearce's immigration bill, SB 1070, an extremist "solution" to undocumented immigrants in Arizona that makes their mere presence in here state a crime.

The bill would also allow cops to check immigration status with nothing more than "reasonable suspicion" that someone might not be a legal. Many fear that the proposed law would give police officers a free pass to profile.

Could we give this proposed law and the firestorm it has generated across the country credit for catapulting immigration to the forefront of national issues? For lighting a fire under President Barack Obama?

That's the question that Latina Lista posed yesterday. The speculation followed reports, including one in the Wall Street Journal, that President Obama called U.S. Senator Scott Brown (R-Massachusetts) from Air Force One on Tuesday to let him know that Democrats are moving ahead to overhaul immigration policies in a month.

But now, the Arizona Republic's Dan Nowicki tweeted, "White House press secretary Robert Gibbs today downplayed the new immigration reform chatter prompted by Brown on Tuesday. "I'm not aware that the president enumerated a 'we would go to this in a month' timeline," Gibbs said at the White House press briefing," Nowicki wrote in a follow-up tweet.

This isn't the first time the Obama administration has backpedaled on when it expects to begin tackling immigration reform.

Last month, despite pledges that he would address immigration reform during his first year in office, Obama stopped short of committing to take up the issue this year. Instead, he said in a statement that he pledged to do "everything in my power to forge a bipartisan consensus this year."

But the focus since has been on financial reform, not immigration reform.

Last April, Politico.com's Josh Gerstein blogged that after a New York Times story "indicated that Obama is about to launch a big drive to pass an immigrant legalization bill," Cecelia Munoz, Obama's director of intergovernmental affairs, told the Times that the president only "intends to start the debate this year."

That was in 2009. And the only debates are those happening at protests between supporters and opponents of the ill-conceived bills that Arizona lawmakers are proposing.

Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez (D-Illinois), who unveiled a plan for immigration reform in December, urged Governor Jan Brewer yesterday to veto the Arizona bill.

He also called on the president to assert the "federal governments' preeminent role in regulating and enforcing our nation's immigration laws." Read his full statement.

The governor has until 5 p.m. Saturday to sign or veto the bill. If she does nothing, it becomes law.
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