In an interview with the Des Moines Register, President Barack Obama said he is “confident” a comprehensive amnesty will pass in 2013 if he is re-elected. He also said Mitt Romney and Republicans have “alienated” Latinos and that may be a big factor in his re-election.
In the interview, the president said, “The second thing I’m confident we’ll get done next year is immigration reform. And since this is off the record, I will just be very blunt. Should I win a second term, a big reason I will win a second term is because the Republican nominee and the Republican Party have so alienated the fastest-growing demographic group in the country, the Latino community. And this is a relatively new phenomenon. George Bush and Karl Rove were smart enough to understand the changing nature of America. And so I am fairly confident that they’re going to have a deep interest in getting that done. And I want to get it done because it’s the right thing to do and I've cared about this ever since I ran back in 2008.”
The president gave the interview to the Des Moines Register but insisted on keeping his remarks off the record. After the paper publicly complained about the secrecy, the White House released a transcript of the interview. The Des Moines Register has consistently supported amnesty for illegal aliens so the President likely had a sympathetic audience, at least on the topic of immigration. Still, his remarks did not diverge greatly from what he has said during campaign stops and the debates.
Mr. Obama promised to pass an amnesty in his 2008 campaign but chose to work on other issues. Then earlier this year, his Administration offered illegal aliens under the age of 31 a temporary stay from deportation and a work permit. That appeared to mollify pro-illegal alien groups that had been disappointed over his lack of attention to their agenda and angry about the deportation of illegal aliens without serious criminal records.
The president’s statement concerning Republican cooperation on amnesty appears to assume that congressional GOP leaders will view his victory as a mandate for legalization. But GOP leaders did not view the 2008 election as a mandate for legalization when both Obama and Sen. John McCain campaigned for amnesty. Moreover, polls suggest that Latinos, like most Americans, are primarily concerned about jobs and the economy so a vote for Obama does not necessarily imply support for amnesty, despite what the president and pro-illegal aliens groups have suggested.