September 1, 2013

Barney Frank: On immigration, Obama should take a lesson from Clinton

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Rap artist Sister Souljah, seen at a 1992 news conference, made claims that then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton wasn’t in touch with the problems of black America.

The Associated Press

In the interest of a sensible immigration policy, it is important that the president resist any pressure from this group to condone its publicity-seeking violations of existing immigration law. It is important as well that those who support this effort defend the president when he is unfairly attacked for resisting their inflammatory tactics.

Elected officials too often give themselves credit for bravery for standing up to their opponents. In most cases, being highly critical of those on the other side of an issue can be very helpful. That is especially the case when your attack draws return fire, which most politicians promptly turn into emails soliciting campaign contributions on the grounds that they are under siege.

What is truly hard is to stand up to your allies. That is what people who support genuine immigration reform should be doing in this case. Various interests -- business, labor -- have compromised to put together a package that is better than many of us thought would have been possible. The spectacle of people who would be major beneficiaries of it engaging in immature and thoughtless tactics that complicate the chances of its passage, is discouraging. Those of us who realize this should do the best we can to counter their potentially damaging impact.

Barney Frank is a retired congressman and author of landmark legislation. He divides his time between Maine and Massachusetts.

Twitter: @BarneyFrank


Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors

Further Discussion

Here at we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)