Hope is one of the most fundamental of all human emotions, and without it, life would have no meaning. Neither would
the battle for immigration reform.

Therefore, all of of us who support immigration reform admire and commend the efforts of the courageous reform activists who, during all of 2013, never gave up on their activities to keep the reform issue front and center in the face of obstruction and bigotry against brown immigrants in the GOP controlled House of Representatives.

But hope must also be based on reality. No one in charge of strategy, whether in politics, in war, or any other activity, has ever won a battle by pretending that the other side isn't there or by ignoring its assets and actions.

In this regard, as a classics addict, I have to admire Julius Caesar's Gallic Wars, in which he seemed to know the exact location, arms-bearing capacity, history, psychology, motivation and preparedness of every single one of his enemies or potential enemies, as well as exactly which actions he needed to take to achieve his objectives.

Granted, Gallic Wars was not exactly an objective assessment written by an unbiased third party (even though Caesar always refers to himself in the third person throughout). It was a self-promoting propaganda piece, if there ever was one.

But no one ever challenged Julius Caesar's ability to prepare for and counter the other side's moves in his own time, and no one has ever done so since. Nor was Caesar alone - there are similar strategic and military classics from China - one thinks of The Art of War (which I keep telling myself I will read one day) - and from other cultures and historical periods as well.

This is why we have to ask ourselves whether all the mainstream pundits who are now telling us that 2014 looks bright for immigration reform are doing a service to the reform movement, or whether they are simply engaging in mass feel-good self-delusion, with a lot of noise from the echo-chamber thrown in for good measure.

Typical of this way of thinking is an article by Lauren Fox in US News called: Watch Out: Immigration Could Still Happen In 2014 (January 2)


Fox is optimistic about reform because:

1) Tamar Jacoby, a well known reform advocate, is optimistic: see my comment about the echo chamber above.

2) John Boehner has hired Rebecca Tallent, John McCain's former immigration advisor: this is without doubt a positive sign, but has anyone considered that Boehner may just have a "tallent" for window dressing?

3) Republican lawmakers are "working behind the scenes": on what?

4) I can't find a fourth reason for optimism in this article.

Along a similar line, there is also a January 2 article in Latino Post, Immigration Reform 2014: Boehner Said to Support 'Step-by-Step' Moves to Pass Immigration Reform.


This article gives two additional reasons to be optimistic about reform:

5) Boehner said something.

6) Reform advocates are organizing: just as they did throughout all of last year, without much success so far.

Maybe, just as Julius Caesar did, reform advocates should pay a little more attention to the opposition, to see what they are up to. Even though we might not like what we see, taking a look at reality might actually lead to a winning strategy, more than anything we can expect from wishful thinking.

A good place to start with a reality check on reform is a January 2 article in politicususa.com (not to be confused with Politico) by Hrafnkell Haraldsson (just read it - you don't have to try to pronounce it) called Don't Expect 2014 to Bring Any Meaningful Change in Immigration Reform.

The link is:


Haraldsson writes:

"Haters are still going to hate, and the Republican Party has demonstrated its hatred not only of the U.S. Constitution but of the United States and all Americans who do not fit into their neat little Evangelical white male box."

To be fair, many Evangelical leaders are supporting reform. But this does not detract from Haraldsson's main point about the GOP as the party of hate toward minorities.

And with regard to Boehner's latest remarks to the effect that we need to address reform in a "thoughtful way and a deliberate way", Haraldsson writes:

"Thoughtful and deliberate are conservative buzzwords for don't expect change any time soon. This is the party of the status quo, after all, and lately, American conservatism has demonstrated a desire to not only block change by to actually turn the clock back."

He goes on to say:

"Ask yourselves this: in what way [is] allowing more 'icky brown people' into the country going to improve election prospects for Republican candidates who preach an America for white Evangelical males?"

And with this question, I wish all immigration reform advocates, and Immigration Daily readers, a Happy and Healthy New Year 2014.