WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama has done what many
critics of immigration reform wanted - put border security first.
Obama sent more investigative agents to the border. He's poured
money into upgrading ports of entry. He's also targeted traffickers
who smuggle in people and drugs, then smuggle out guns and cash.
He's shifted the focus away from those who come to the U.S.
illegally in search of work. Instead, he's placed it squarely on
criminals who foment violence in Mexico and kidnap and kill inside
the United States.
Obama hopes the moves will gain him leverage in dealing with the
thorniest part of immigration reform: To create a path to
citizenship for illegal immigrants.
But will his gambit work? In three tries in three years,
Congress has failed to pass an immigration bill, mainly due to
opponents' vague insistence on "border security first." No one
has said who and what will determine that the border is secure, but
the mantra provides clever cover for an unwillingness to deal with
the nearly 12 million people living in the U.S. illegally.
Last week, Obama hinted he's aware of that.