President Obama's May 10 speech in El Paso was a mixture of platitudes and farce - except for the hundreds of thousands of immigrants, many of them with American spouses or children, who have already been deported or are facing deportation for nothing more than the "crime" of seeking a better life in America and trying to feed their families, and the many tens of thousands more who cannot get visas or petition approvals because of their even more serious "crime" of being educated, skilled professional workers with technical or business skills that our economy urgently needs to remain competitive and grow out of recession. For these immigrants or would-be immigrants, Obama's speech was closer to a tragedy. 

If there is any theme at all that can be gleaned from Obama's confused mixture of empty slogans about America's immigrant heritage, which his administration is doing so much to destroy, and self-aggrandizing, chest slapping braggadocio about immigration enforcement, i.e. deporting  more than 400,000 people and throwing away billions of dollars on useless border fences, it is that he is hoping to strike a deal on immigration reform with the Republicans.

How can  someone as intelligent as Obama, a former editor of the Harvard Law Review and Constitutional law professor, possibly believe such nonsense? The Republicans depend on two groups of core supporters, without which they would not exist. One is the ultra rich, who provide their essential financing. Hence, no tax increases - at least not for the wealthiest Americans and largest corporations. The other group, which the Republicans depend on for their populist appeal, is made up of the anti-immigrant bigots and white supremacists. For this second component of the Republican base, "amnesty", is as much anathema as a more equitable sharing of the tax burden is to the first component. Whatever "amnesty" is called, whatever conditions are imposed, even if unauthorized immigrants have to swim through a moat full of alligators in order to obtain some form of legalization  (to borrow the president's phrase) the Republicans will never agree.

"No amnesty for illegals" is just as much the Republicans' line in the sand on immigration as no tax increases for the rich is on the budget.  We saw this in the Senate in 2007 and it is even more true now. Therefore talk about how much Obama would just simply love to be more immigrant friendly, but, alas, he cannot do this right now, but not to worry, he is working hard to bring those obstinate Republicans on board, is nothing but a cruel hoax and a cynical charade. Without some form of "amnesty", "legalization", or whatever else one wants to call it, immigration reform cannot even be imagined, let alone actually come into existence.  No one can argue with that part of Obama's speech.

But even Obama's mockery of the intelligence of American voters by relying on the chimera of Republican agreement on immigration reform pales before his protestations that he has no power to change course on his destructive "enforcement only" administrative policies. Obama, the President of the United States, has no administrative power to grant relief from deportation or to approve more visas or petitions, when the entire immigration system is based on administrative policy-setting and regulation? He might just as well have argued that he had no power to get Bin Laden. Is not the president's so far sucessful lawsuit against Arizona based entirely on the theory that the federal government has broad and exclusive discretionary powers to determine how to enforce the immigration laws?

But not to worry. Obama has promised to have a talk with DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, who seems to think that "immigration" and "deportation" mean the same thing.  But Obama does not need to talk to Janet Napolitano himself. He should hire Donald Trump to do so, and the discussion should consist of only two words. Then Latinos, Asians and other minority US voters in immigrant communities might have some reason to think about supporting Obama for re-election next year. Right now they have none.