Rahm Emanuel has emerged as the major problem within the White House on reform of immigration.
A New York Times magazine article due out this Sunday reports that Hispanic leader in Congress believe that he does not take the the issue seriously and is the person blocking progress.
The New York Times writer Peter Baker reports that "The Congressional Hispanic Caucus say he does not pay attention to their issues. Hispanic lawmakers blame him for a provision inserted into the Senate health care legislation that would bar illegal immigrants from buying policies on new insurance exchanges even with their own money, and they complain that he is not putting any energy behind liberalizing immigration laws.
“There are strong feelings about Rahm Emanuel among members of the Hispanic caucus,” Representative Nydia Velázquez of New York, the head of the caucus, told The Times.
“People feel Rahm Emanuel has not been helpful in moving forward. He’s always about the numbers. He’s always about being the pragmatist. He’s always about winning.”
Private criticism of Emanuel by immigration groups is nothing new but the very public nature of these comments is.Emanuel is famously impatient about pushing any legislation that he believes has a low chance of passing, preferring the president spend time on issues that he can get legislation passed on.
His problems with the Hispanic lobby however, may come back to haunt him. The New York Times makes clear he is a Chief of Staff under siege, whose job may be on the line in the next few weeks or so, especially if the health care legislation stalls again. If he is in difficulty the Hispanic lobby is hardly likely to want to help.