Politics Daily Looks at Immigration, Latinos

Jill Lawrence of Politics Daily takes an interesting look this morning at the politics of Hispanics and immigration reform.  It includes this passage, which starts with a reference to President Obama's speech to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute last week:

in a speech punctuated with the phrase "todos somos Americanos" (we are all Americans), Obama also reiterated his commitment to fixing what he called a broken immigration system. If anything, he said, the health debate "underscores the necessity of passing comprehensive immigration reform and resolving the issue of 12 million undocumented people living and working in this country once and for all."

The two commitments amount to a strategy: Prove you're tough on enforcement before asking Congress to approve a path to legal status for millions of undocumented immigrants. There's every probability that most conservatives will resist that idea in 2010 as mightily as they have for the past few years. But if comprehensive immigration reform passes with few or no GOP votes, Obama and his party will have a lock on the Latino vote at least through 2012. If the immigration debate inspires anti-immigrant sentiment or candidates, congressional Democrats could benefit from heightened Latino turnout in 2010.

Latinos still rate Obama very high in polls, suggesting they understand his reasons for delaying action on immigration. But 2010 is their limit. "The disappointment of Latino voters will be profound" if immigration reform doesn't happen next year, NDN president Simon Rosenberg, whose group studies the Latino vote, told me. If Obama and his party delay the bill further, or their efforts look half-hearted, he added, "there will be costs. It will not be pain-free."