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THE MUSINGS OF A TRADITIONAL SOUTHERN DEMOCRAT

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Location: Douglas, Coffee Co., The Other Georgia, United States

Sid in his law office where he sits when meeting with clients. Observant eyes will notice the statuette of one of Sid's favorite Democrats.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

When I first read headline, I said to Sally: He is going to waste his recently acquired political capital. Maybe not if this article is partly right.

The headline in The Washington Post is "Obama’s border visit renews focus on immigration policy" and the article reads in part:

President Obama will stand on the U.S.-Mexico border Tuesday and try to take credit for something that eluded predecessors in both parties: successfully cracking down on illegal immigration.

It is a record that Republicans roundly dispute. And it has drawn fire from many in Obama’s Latino base, who say the president has stepped up enforcement measures such as deportations while failing to deliver on his pledge to create a path to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants.

But in using a speech in El Paso to highlight his enforcement record, Obama will signal that he intends to try turning the immigration debate into a political winner among conservative swing voters who back tougher immigration policies.

The president is expected to reel off what his aides say is evidence of an unprecedented focus on border security: hundreds of millions of dollars spent since he took office on high-tech fencing, aerial drones and a doubling of the border patrol since 2004. The result, aides say, has been a steep decline in illegal incursions and plummeting crime rates in U.S. border communities from Texas to California.

“He is championing what Latinos are looking for, which is real immigration reform, while at the same time he is being a spokesperson for serious improvements in border enforcement, which independent voters support,” said Doris Meissner, who was the Clinton administration’s top immigration official.

Most experts and activists say any new legislative deal on immigration is highly unlikely in the near term.

A flurry of White House activity on the issue in recent weeks, though, underscores the administration view that immigration could play an important role in the president’s reelection campaign next year — with Obama needing to revive enthusiasm among Latinos while boosting his standing with centrist swing voters.

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