Great piece by Edward Luce in the FT on Obama’s efforts to revive immigration reform.
On grounds of enlightened self-interest, Mr Obama should therefore be commended. The opposite could be said of an increasingly nativist Republican party. Having applauded their colleagues in Arizona, who in April enacted the most draconian anti-immigrant state law in a generation, Republicans are working directly against their long-term self-interest as a party.
Unfashionable as it is to praise George W. Bush, America’s 43rd president understood viscerally that immigrants, legal, or otherwise, were a core part of the American tradition. As governor of Texas he won strong Hispanic support. “If they can make it round the Rio bend, hell we want ‘em,” he once said. In 2000 Mr Bush won more than 40 per cent of the Hispanic vote, a record unmatched by a Republican before or since.
Once seen as a principled maverick, Mr McCain is now hostage to the worst instincts of his party’s nativist wing. Many sign up to the myth that Mr Obama was born outside the US and is therefore a fraud. As the son of an immigrant, Mr Obama embodies the American dream. Isn’t it time he called out the Republicans as un-American?