On Monday night, Stephen Colbert praised President Obama’s immigration policy change and pushed back at skeptics who suggested the about-face was a cynical ploy to appeal to Latino voters in a contentious election year.
Obama announced on Friday that his administration would no longer deport illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, providing they have a high school diploma and no criminal record.
“This of course replaces our long-standing policy of not deporting them if they were really good at baseball,” Colbert joked. “This is shocking: Obama has now thrown open America’s doors to people who are already here.”
Unlike his hero, Karl Rove, Colbert wasn’t entirely convinced by the idea that Obama was making a calculated bid to shore up the Latino vote. After all, “right now he’s barely clinging to a 43-point lead,” he said. “Sounds impressive, but remember that’s in pesos.”
After hearing fellow conservatives George Will and Bill Kristol praise the policy shift, Colbert reluctantly conceded it was “the right thing to do.”
He also criticized the idea that the president shouldn't make any bold moves during an election year, for fear they might look politically motivated. “Maybe I’m a conspiracy theorist, but I’m beginning to think that Barack Obama is trying to get reelected,” he suggested.
Obama’s attitude starkly contrasts with that of the Republican Party which, as Colbert argued, refuses to “pander” to Latino voters. By way of example, he pointed to the GOP’s Latino outreach web page, which last week mistakenly featured a stock photo of Asian children.
“That’s the promise of America. These Asian kids can grow up to be anything they want to be — even Hispanic,” Colbert quipped. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party symbol is, of all things, a donkey – or, as Colbert put it, a “burro.”
“I’m sure if you hit it with a stick, candy and free healthcare falls out,” he said.
In his typically ironic way, Colbert pointed to what he sees as the absurdity of Latino voters supporting Mitt Romney over Barack Obama: "I don’t think Hispanics are going to fall for Obama’s new ploy of promising to help and then doing it. They want a man of principle, a man who will promise not to help, and then won’t."
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