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Obama better push ahead with immigration reform

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Obama knows a kick in the rear end when he feels one:

“Despite a bruising fiscal cliff battle that managed to set the stage for an even more heated showdown that will likely take place in a matter of months, President Barack Obama is planning to move full steam ahead with the rest of his domestic policy agenda.

An Obama administration official said the president plans to push for immigration reform this January. The official, who spoke about legislative plans only on condition of anonymity, said that coming standoffs over deficit reduction are unlikely to drain momentum from other priorities. The White House plans to push forward quickly, not just on immigration reform but gun control laws as well. …

It remains unclear what type of immigration policies the White House plans to push in January, but turning them into law could be a long process. Aides expect it will take about two months to write a bipartisan bill, then another few months before it goes up for a vote, possibly in June. A bipartisan group of senators are already working on a deal, although they are still in the early stages. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) will likely lead on the Democratic side in the House. While many Republicans have expressed interest in piecemeal reform, it’s still unclear which of them plan to join the push.”

When 75 percent of the Latino electorate help you keep your job, securing fair and comprehensive immigration reform better be near the top of your to-do list.

The president’s already making moves:

“The Obama administration eased the way Wednesday for illegal immigrants who are immediate relatives of American citizens to apply for permanent residency, a change that could affect as many as 1 million of the estimated 11 million immigrants unlawfully in the U.S.

A new rule issued by the Department of Homeland Security aims to reduce the time illegal immigrants are separated from their American families while seeking legal status, immigration officials said.

Beginning March 4, when the changes go into effect, illegal immigrants who can demonstrate that time apart from an American spouse, child or parent would create ‘extreme hardship,’ can start the application process for a legal visa without leaving the U.S.”

Latinos voted for Obama en masse not because he represented such an attractive candidate for president, but because Romney and the Republicans were threatening to corral undocumented Latinos into something resembling a cattle drive and herd them across the Rio Grande. Two-thirds of Latinos chose what they viewed as the lesser of two evils — on the one hand, effective devils wearing red ties, and on the other, ineffective angels donning blue.

Still, if the Obama administration and the Democratic Party fail to pass the long-vowed immigration reform, regardless of whatever Republican opposition is bound to rear its xenophobic head, many Latinos will lose all confidence in their elected jackasses in Washington and start seeing (and voting) red.

And as for me, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, and I’ll vote for the indie ticket.

About Hector Luis Alamo, Jr.

Hector Luis Alamo, Jr., is the associate editor at Being Latino and a native son of Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood. He received a B.A. in history at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where his concentration was on ethnic relations in the United States. While at UIC, he worked first as a staff writer for the Chicago Flame and later became the newspaper's Opinions editor. He contributes to various Chicago-area publications, most notably, the RedEye and Gozamos. He's also a cultural critic for 'LLERO magazine. He has maintained a personal blog since 2007, YoungObservers.blogspot.com, where he discusses topics ranging from political history and philosophy to culture and music.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.

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