I can`t point to anything concrete. But I do see a lot of clues that, if you put them together, indicate that, both from a personal and professional perspective, Obama has concluded that amnesty is a loser.
Because he can`t come straight out and admit that immigration isn`t floating his boat, Obama prefers to say all the right things to his Hispanic constituents about bringing aliens "out of the shadows" and putting them on "a path to legalization".
Obama is a Democrat so naturally he says these hugely annoying things. But you`ve noticed, I hope, that he puts no real muscle behind his words but rather coddles his audience along.
Really, when you think about the concept of amnesty from Obama`s personal background, what does he know—and why should he care—about illegal aliens?
Obama is a Columbia University- and Harvard Law School-educated elitist.
And although neither Hispanics nor blacks will admit it, they are not sympathetic to each other`s causes. The savviest blacks—of which Obama is one—recognize Hispanics as threats. They`re angry that Hispanics have passed them as America`s largest minority population without the benefit of being in the U.S. legally.
Furthermore, I can`t recall that Obama campaigned vigorously with Hispanics at his side. I never saw any pictures of him stumping with his fellow Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez.
And when Obama and Gutierrez were finally photographed together, Obama looked like he couldn`t wait to get out of the room.
If you get right down to it when Obama actually does speak out about his immigration strategy, he often says things that should comfort us and put illegal aliens and their advocates on edge.
Consider these remarks from Obama`s April 29th press conference:
"If the American people don`t feel like you can secure the borders, then it`s hard to strike a deal that would get people out of the shadows and on a pathway to citizenship who are already here, because the attitude of the average American is going to be, well, you`re just going to have hundreds of thousands of more coming in each year."
"So what we want to do is to show that we are competent and getting results around immigration, even on the structures that we already have in place, the laws that we already have in place, so that we`re building confidence among the American people that we can actually follow through on whatever legislative approach emerges."
"Ultimately, I don`t have control of the legislative calendar, and so we`re going to work with legislative leaders to see what we can do."
Here`s why Obama`s three statements encourage me:
The borders will never be well enough secured for the American people to feel confident that an amnesty will not lead to another flood of illegal immigrants as it did after the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act amesty.
The federal government will never be "competent" on immigration and will never "build confidence among the American people…" In nearly a quarter of a century of writing about the imiigration crisis, I cannot point to one piece of immigration legislation that I could define as competently implemented.
By acknowledging that he doesn`t "have control of the legislative calendar," Obama confirms what I have written countless times: it doesn`t matter what specific immigration policy he may or may not want. Creating new legislation falls to Congress.
Only those Congressmen who are 100 percent certain of 2010 re-election will support any form of amnesty—specifically, members of the radical left wing of the Democratic Party.
Let me give you a specific example of why immigration policy is so dangerous for a middle-of-the-road politician—be he Republican or Democrat.
In 2004, prominent Texas Democratic Congressman Martin Frost (immigration grade "F") found himself in a tough re-election bid in the then-newly created 32nd District against Pete Sessions, (no relation to Alabama Senator Jeff), a patriot and our strong ally who had an "A" immigration report card.
Frost had been an outspoken advocate of amnesty, more guest workers and more non-immigrant H-1B visas. But as his campaign heated up, Frost tried unsuccessfully to back away from his Open Borders position.
In an added 2004 bonus, Kenny Marchant, an "A" immigration ally, won Frost`s former District 26. ""
More than two decades of immigration advocacy caught up with Frost and cost him his job.
Frost now practices law privately in Dallas. And two immigration patriots—Sessions and Marchant—are in Congress, voting for our side and against amnesty right straight down the line. We can`t ask for more than that: a bad guy is out and two good guys are in.
Given that throughout his campaign Frost took a public beating on his immigration enthusiasm and that it led directly to his defeat, he`s well positioned to reflect on the current debate about how much political capital Obama should invest in "comprehensive immigration reform".
Pay close attention to how the battle scarred Frost views it.
When asked by POLITICO.Com if 2009 is a good or bad year for immigration reform, Frost replied:
"No year is ever a good year to seek immigration reform. Immigration reform makes Social Security reform look like a walk in the park. The Obama Administration should concentrate on health care and energy legislation this year and not waste capital on this most difficult of all subjects."
In case you discount Frost`s opinion, you should know that his immigration analysis has been dead on in previous years, too.
In 2006 when virtually all the world (except yours truly) predicted a slam-dunk amnesty, Frost, commenting that both parties had significant difficulties with immigration legislation, firmly and accurately stated:
"I predict that Congress, after much huffing and puffing, will not pass any significant immigration legislation this year."
What it boils down to is that, professionally, Obama simply doesn`t gain anything by investing himself into the immigration debate.
If Hispanics didn`t support John McCain after he had been carrying their water since Obama was an undergraduate, they won`t back the 2012 Republican nominee either.
Sure, Obama will always say politically safe but innocuous things about fixing a "broken immigration system" to his Democratic audience. But from the looks of it, he`s not whole-heartedly behind getting into what would be the inevitable fray over amnesty.
Who knows? Maybe Obama studied Frost`s career path and decided he`d rather stay another term in the White House—rather than let a crazy amnesty plan force him into writing his memoirs four years earlier than he had planned.
Joe Guzzardi [email him] is a California native who recently fled the state because of over-immigration, over-population and a rapidly deteriorating quality of life. He has moved to Pittsburgh, PA where the air is clean and the growth rate stable. A long-time instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, Guzzardi has been writing a weekly column since 1988. It currently appears in the Lodi News-Sentinel.