In Friday's speech at George Mason University, President Obama slammed as one of the "crazy things" conservatives said about his health-care effort was that it would offer federal insurance coverage to illegal aliens. On Friday night's All Things Considered newscast on National Public Radio, reporter David Welna's story underlined that liberals like Rep. Luis Gutierrez expected exactly that, but are now hoping that an amnesty bill will make them eligible instead. But Welna sought out no opponents of illegal immigration for comment.
Worse, Welna predicted a large "pro-immigrant activist" protest turnout on Sunday, in advance:
The renewed effort to move immigration legislation comes as thousands of pro-immigrant activists plan to march on the Capitol this Sunday as the final showdown on health care begins in the House.
Welna's story made it clear that Latino liberals wanted federal health subsidies for illegals, by banishing the concept of "illegal aliens," but it really should have been used in tandem with Obama's statement that day in Virginia that this was somehow "crazy."
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) had a problem with the health care bill before the House. He found it deeply unfair that the bill expressly forbids illegal immigrants to buy health insurance on new exchanges that would be set up. And that can't be fixed by a separate package of amendments the House will vote on, because everything in it has to be budget-related.
"I have said on numerous occasions I cannot vote for the bill in its current form, under the current format," Gutierrez said two days ago.
But Gutierrez did not want the health care bill to fail. What he wanted, as chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus's Immigration Task Force, was for President Obama to honor campaign promises to push for an immigration overhaul.
At a news conference Thursday, Gutierrez said he got what he wanted.
"After extensive discussions with the president, I believe we have a health care bill I can vote 'yes' for, and I believe we have a commitment from the president to move forward on a comprehensive immigration reform package quickly," he said.
Welna also avoided the idea that Americans object to the taxpayer burden of illegal immigrants, and that added benefits for aliens makes immigration into the country that much more attractive.