Comprehensive Immigration Reform Instead of Health Care

I had lunch with a political junkie/reformed politician friend of mine, Jeff Smith (@jeffsmithMO), yesterday.  We were discussing politics as we usually do.  He was telling me that he thinks that Obama really dropped the ball in pushing health care reform so forcefully before trying to fix our nation’s broken immigration system.

His theory was as follows: Obama builds a big coalition of everyone who is in favor of comprehensive immigration reform: the Chamber of Commerce, certain labor unions, Hispanic leaders, large employers, etc.  Make the tent as large as possible.  Then show that the only people who really opposed #CIR were the fringe on the right who will never be happy with increased immigration.  Allow the out of status to come out from underground and begin fully participating in U.S. society – which they desparately want to do.

It would be good for the economy as many new taxpayers would join the tax rolls and contribute not only to our deficit, but to the problems with Social Security.  Then, having made good connections with the Chamber and having led on an important issue, Obama would have had greater capital to address things like health care.  Not a novel approach, but one that I hadn’t heard articulated so well.

Instead, Obama has merely pushed his enforcement now, enforcement foreover approach and done little more than give lip service to being interested in immigration reform.