The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

July 1, 2010
Obama pushes immigration reform, finally


In his first major speech on immigration reform as president, Barack Obama said today what he had to say. In keeping with his cool persona, he brought some welcome reason and rationality amid the overheated rhetoric and overreaction to Arizona's new law.

Almost everyone agrees the immigration system is broken. But in noting the political gridlock on the issue, Obama also acknowledged that there is no bipartisan consensus on the solution.

The president blamed "political posturing and special interest wrangling" and faulted Republicans he said had succumbed to the "pressures of partisanship and election-year politics."

"I'm ready to move forward, the majority of Democrats are ready to move forward and I believe the majority of Americans are ready to move forward. But the fact is that without bipartisan support, as we had just a few years ago, we cannot solve this problem," Obama (shown in the Associated Press photo above) said at American University in Washington, D.C.

"Reform that brings accountability to our immigration system cannot pass without Republican votes," he added. "That is the political and mathematical reality."

That moment Obama referred to was in 2007, when Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts and Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona proposed a sweeping immigration reform bill. President George W. Bush was on board.

But opponents, including especially vociferous foes on the right wing of the GOP, stopped that momentum cold. By calling such proposals "amnesty," they made it political suicide for a Republican with national ambitions to sign on to such a measure.

Three years later, the situation is, if anything, worse. And frustrations have led to measures like the Arizona law, set to take effect later this month, which calls on law enforcement to check the immigration status of residents if they have a reasonable suspicion they might be illegal. Critics call it a recipe for racial profiling, and Sacramento and other California cities have announced boycotts in response.

Obama supports a plan similar to the : Further secure the borders, penalize businesses that hire illegal immigrants and offer a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already living here -- if they pay fines and back taxes and learn English.

The president has been criticized by reform advocates for not more aggressively pushing their cause. His administration made the political calculation that it wanted to first pass an economic stimulus, health care reform and a financial regulatory overhaul. The first two are law, and the third will almost certainly win final passage when the Senate returns from its July Fourth recess.

So now it's time for immigration reform. But that one may turn out to be the toughest to pass of all.

About Comments

Reader comments on are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.

About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    

Stuart Leavenworth on Twitter

Follow "SacBeeEditBoard" on Twitter