New Orleans Like Greek oracles many of us read the tea leaves and look for animal sign in Washington to try and puzzle out what the Obama Administration is really doing and where it is really going. This is especially true in trying to figure out the future of the “tier 2” issues like immigration reform. Whoever would have thought immigration reform involving 15 million people would be in the second tier, but who ever thought that bailouts and stimulus packages would have been first order with health care, educational reform, and workers choice issues right behind it.
For the second time in as many weeks the signs are confusing but good for immigration reform. Or, so it seems to me at least.
The news started breaking earlier this week that ICE had raided a plant in Bellingham, Washington up the sound 60 miles or so from Seattle, if I remember correctly. The workforce was slightly over a hundred and 28 immigrants were detained for processing (which means expulsion on the usual ICE model) and a couple of people were released for so-called “humanitarian” reasons.
This was old news under the Bush Administration, but there had been high hopes and many believed some promises that this would be different with an Obama Administration. New Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, the recent governor of Arizona, had also indicated publicly that all of these policies were “under review.” What happened then?!?
Well the news of the raid spread like wildfire and by Wednesday I had received 4 or 5 alerts from widely different organizations to contact the White House, Secretary Napolitano, or someone to protest these raids and demand that they cease. Then the wheels started moving, as the reaction sat in.
By Thursday morning there was a short blurb in the Times, quoting the Secretary as essentially saying this was a “sneak” attack that she had not known about and that DHS was reviewing the whole mess. Thursday morning as well saw a meeting of the beltway immigration reform forces meeting with top officials of DHS under the Secretary and being assured that they were getting on top of this matter, and there would not be a repeat.
First Obama on the radio and now Napolitano on the back track.
There are signs for all of the oracles in Washington (and beyond!) to read that portend something interesting on immigration reform might be afoot.