It also seemed like a good idea for the President's re-election campaign, since he was losing the trust of Latinos who see their relatives and friends arbitrarily kicked out of the country. The chart shows the gradual fall in the President's approval among Latinos. He's sitting well under 50 percent, a cumulative fall of about 15 points in the last year.
The shift in immigration enforcement policy seemed designed to shore up Obama's re-election numbers and that's fine. That's what applied pressure is supposed to get people in a democracy. The bums don't like the idea of being thrown out.
But of course there's a bureaucracy involved, not to mention thousands of immigration cops whose practices and attitudes may not be quite so malleable as those of politicians. And so, lo and behold, cruel and unnecessary deportations are still the story for too many people.
Markos Moulitsas, proprietor of the Daily Kos political blog, who is decidedly not a poor immigrant scratching a living anonymously, explained why a cruel immigration policy cuts so deeply among Latinos, even those who are well established and politically active citizens.
Elsewhere Moulitsas called the President's immigration shift "the good kind of political pandering." That's apt. Obama needs Latino support and he has to offer something to get it. But words without action aren't going to cut it.
The entire nation is likely to be having similar thoughts when Obama talks about the economy and jobs tonight.