The President who Cried Wolf, Once too Often
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The President who Cried Wolf, Once too Often

September 7, 2014, 11:26 pm
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5 Years of Promises or just a 3 Card Monty Game?

We've all heard the story of the Boy who "Cried Wolf," but have you heard the story of the President who cried Wolf so any time that his words lose all meaning.

Here's how the story goes. 

On September 5, 2014, at the end of a two-day NATO summit, President Obama, without offering details or a timetable, failed to make a much anticipated commitment about whether he would use his executive power for immigration reform, in the coming weeks as he had earlier pledged. Instead he said "My expectation is that fairly soon, I'll be considering what the next steps are," 

In making this statement, he repeated his quotable words by saying that without congressional action to overhaul the immigration system, he would take steps to increase border security, to upgrade the processing of border crossers, to encourage legal immigration and to give immigrants who have been illegally in the United States for some time a path to become legal residents, pay taxes, pay a fine and learn English.

"I want to be very clear: My intention is, in the absence of...action by Congress, I'm going to do what I can do within the legal constraints of my office, because it's the right thing to do for the country,"  

Haven't we heard this before?

For the last several weeks, in Washington and the nation's immigrant communities, there's been a buzz, that President Obama would circumvent Congress and use his executive power to spare millions of illegal immigrants from deportation by offering them temporary legal status. 

There have been dozens of stories in the last few weeks suggesting that some sort of executive relief for the undocumented was just around the corner.

An August 9 editorial in The New York Times, titled "Mr. Obama, Your Move," implied that some type of executive action was practically a fait accompli.   The article went on to say, "The most obvious thing is to lift the threat of deportation from immigrants who should be the lowest priority for removal: those with citizen children, jobs, clean records and strong community ties. Some reports put the size of that group at four million to five million."

But what's happening today is nothing new.  Even before 2008, the same rhetoric has been traveling the same circle.

Let's just list a few of Obama's "wolf cries"

1.    On Saturday, President Obama announced that he would postpone action on his repeated promises to overhaul federal immigration policies through executive authority until after the midterm elections in November.

2.    Just recently in  June 2014, President Obama promised to take executive action on immigration reform by the end of the summer. And the president said he will not act after the November elections.

3.    On October 16, 2013, notwithstanding nationwide demonstrations in early October that led to the arrest of eight House Democrats (Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), immigration activist Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL), and Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY). The other House members who were arrested when they blocked a street near the Capitol are Reps. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Joe Crowley (D-NY), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Al Green (D-TX), and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL). President Barack Obama  reaffirmed his commitment to comprehensive immigration reform, assuring all that he would pressure Congress to bring up the issue the morning after a deal to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling is passed.

democrats arrested

4.    On July 8, 2010, during an appearance on "John King USA," Univision anchor Jorge Ramos accused Obama and congressional Republicans for failing to take action to repair the nation's broken immigration system. 

5.    Guest host Jessica Yellin showed a video clip of Ramos asking candidate Obama in 2008 if he would commit to reforming the immigration system. Obama responded, "I cannot guarantee that it's going to be in the first 100 days. But what I can guarantee is that we will have in the first year an immigration bill that I strongly support and that I'm promoting and that I want to move that forward as quickly as possible."

That first year came and went and still, no immigration bill in sight.

6.    In April 2012 interview on Univision, a Spanish language television network. Appearing on Univision's "Al Punto" show, Obama stated, "I can promise that I will try to do it [comprehensive immigration reform] in my first year of my second term." "La Promesa de Obama," his promise to achieve immigration reform during his first year as president, has proved empty.

7.    On October 24, 2012 President Obama said emphatically that he is "confident" that, if reelected, he will oversee the route to immigration reform next year, in part because Republicans will have an interest in reaching out to a growing Latino voting bloc they have "alienated" in recent years.

8.    Remembering the 2008 campaign cycle, President Obama promised to overhaul immigration in his first year in office. Though he called for comprehensive reform in June of 2009, the effort got little push from the White House and since then it has gone nowhere.

9.    Despite nationwide rallies in early October 2013 that led to the arrest of eight House Democrats, immigration reform has been relegated to Congress's back burner during the shutdown and debt ceiling crises, President Barack Obama (D) reaffirmed his commitment to immigration reform, promising that he would pressure Congress to bring up the issue the morning after a deal to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling is passed.

Now after five years as president, who for the most part was carried into office on the backs of immigrant voters, Obama Wolf Cries again?  And seriously, who still believes him?

Author: Moises Apsan
Attorney with over 35 years of experience. Past president Federal Bar Association NJ Chapter (1997-2002). Offices in New York, NY, Newark, NJ. Tel: 888-460-1800 and
Apsan Law Offices
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