Obama Softening Tone on Path to Citizenship

A blog about business and economics.
Jan. 31 2014 9:18 AM

Obama Softening Tone on Path to Citizenship

463332335-drapes-are-decorated-as-immigrants-arrive-for-a
No path for you.

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

This week has seen a glimmer of a break in the ice around comprehensive immigration reform as after letting the issue languish for months, Republican leaders have finally started talking about an idea that's long been an obvious counter-move: grant unauthorized migrants who've otherwise been well-behaved legal status and work permits without putting them on a path to American citizenship.

And now the White House seems to be hinting that it could be open to that idea.

I think it would be genuinely a bit nutty for the president to refuse to sign a bill along these lines were it to pass congress. Immigrants and their families want a path to citizenship, and Democrats want new citizens who can vote for them, but legal status alone would be a boon to both unauthorized migrants and the national economy. If the bill were on Obama's desk, I just don't see how he could avoid signing it.

Advertisement

That said, we've time and again seen the political problems with pre-emptive compromise in this administration. The absolute best way to destroy conservative support for a legal status measure would be for the White House to embrace it. If Democrats believe a path to citizenship is the right thing to do (and they certainly seem to) then they may as well keep saying that and let Republican leaders see if they can round up support for a more modest thing.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore, and Schools Are Getting Worried

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 19 2014 9:15 PM Chris Christie, Better Than Ever
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.