By Vladimir Gladkov
President Obama’s policy towards illegal immigrants has come under attack from a person, from whom Mr. Obama probably expected this less of all. Rahm Emanuel, once the White House Chief of Staff for President Obama and now Chicago’s mayor, says that he finds the US laws on illegal immigrants too tough and that he will try to lead a milder policy towards immigrants in his city.
Mr. Emanuel became the White House Chief of Staff in 2009. In September 2010, he left this post to run for Mayor of Chicago.
While the authorities of Arizona, where the majority of top officials are Republicans, are trying to introduce even tougher measures against illegal immigrants than the federal laws envision, Chicago’s mayor, a Democrat, prefers the opposite policy.
Recently, Mr. Emmanuel irritated many employees of law-enforcement institutions by issuing a decree which limits the cooperation between the Chicago police and agents of federal migration services. Speaking in the House of Representatives, the Director of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement John Morton said that the decree of Chicago’s mayor runs counter to the federal laws and may increase the number of criminals in the city.
However, Mr. Emanuel keeps sticking to his position. He insists that the main aspect to pay attention to should be not whether an immigrant has this or that document, but whether he or she has a criminal past.
The reason why Mr. Emmanuel is trying to win a reputation of the-most-friendly-towards-immigrants city for Chicago is probably that Chicago is one of the cities which suffered most from the current financial and economic crisis in the US. By his mild policy towards immigrants, Chicago’s mayor is pursuing two goals – to depict himself as a democratic and tolerant person and to try to solve the city’s economic problems by attracting scores of guest workers.
The above-mentioned efforts of Arizona’s authorities to introduce a tougher policy against illegal immigrants in their state were, in fact, blocked by the decision of the US Supreme Court, which came on June 25 this year. This incident was used by Arizona’s top officials, who are mainly Republicans, as another pretext to criticize President Obama. They said that Mr. Obama adheres to a policy of double standards if he allows Chicago’s mayor to introduce laws, which are different from the federal ones, in his city, but doesn’t allow Arizona to have laws of its own.
It should be acknowledged that some arguments of opponents of Chicago’s mayor’s policy are probably reasonable. For example, Mr. Emanuel hopes that if illegal immigrants are not afraid of deportation any more, they will probably cooperate with the police more willingly. But doesn’t this sound a bit naïve?
There are no reasons to doubt that in all his actions, Rahm Emanuel is guided by the wish to free his city from crime. However, his efforts have brought little fruit so far. Chicago still has a reputation of a city with a very high level of organized crime. Both the mayor and the city’s police often come under sharp criticism because of that.
The most peculiar thing in this story is that the main person who is blamed for this situation is again President Obama – although Rahm Emanuel claims that his main opponent in this dispute is not the President but the Congress. Well, it looks as if whatever happens in the US now, it is Mr. Obama who turns out to be the scapegoat!
Recently, US news agency The Hill published the results of a poll. According to them, 56% of the country’s residents believe that during Barack Obama’s presidency, life in the US changed for the worse.
True, it should be acknowledged that partially, Mr. Obama is not to blame for that. He really has to cope with very complicated problems, many of which are the heritage of the epoch of his predecessor George W. Bush. But it should also be acknowledged that President Obama has made quite a few serious mistakes of his own as well. He has obviously disappointed many of his former supporters by not fulfilling his promises of his pre-election campaign of 2008. The fact that his current policy towards illegal immigrants runs counter to what he promised then is yet another reason why his popularity is decreasing with each coming day.