While clearly no fan of President Obama, his brilliant and impassioned speech did not fall on deaf ears. He once again demonstrated his magnificent ability to deliver a speech; a speech that in this case, for a change, was more about substance than fluff. He clearly and concisely laid out his reasons for moving forward with his executive order on immigration reform.
There is a serious immigration problem in this country that neither party has addressed. As the President said, there are 5 million people who would be helped by this executive order, which would allow them to step out of the shadows. He discussed a number of criteria that must be met in order to qualify for eventual citizenship. He is not going to allow anyone to cut the line and this is not a blanket executive order covering all immigrants currently in the country. But there must be exceptions for people who have made lives here, many of whom have children, born in this country and are therefore American citizens by law. It is cruel and un-American to even consider separating children from their parents. The children of the undocumented immigrants did nothing wrong and should therefore not be penalized for the acts of their relatives. The argument that since they came here illegally they should be punished is understood but as human beings, as Americans, we must show our humanity and make exceptions where it makes sense.
The United States must, as the President said, be a place where people who are escaping desperate and dangerous situations can find a home, a better life. That speaks to the very foundation and establishment of this great experiment. We are indeed a country of immigrants and that’s what makes this country so unique. Most countries are comprised of homogeneous groups whether it be China, Norway, Russia, Japan, India or Nigeria, to name only a few. That is not who we are. We have always welcomed and will continue to welcome those who are different. Those who help make this country what it is. That despite our different cultures, colors and religions, we are ONE United States of America. Everyone should be proud of that. Once the current immigration issues are addressed, we must come up with a cogent plan for future immigration that makes sense. We should once and for all put this in the checked column and move on.
The Republicans can not be incensed with his announcement to move forward since what he announced is not illegal. House Republicans voted down what amounted to a decent piece of legislation that the Senate had already passed, so they have no one to blame but themselves. They should therefore assume a large part of immigration reform failure. Whether its Constitutional is for the court to decide. The President challenged Republicans to come up with a plan and to send a bill for him to sign. Instead, the GOP has done absolutely nothing.
Finally, the argument on the right that claims his order will allow terrorists easy access to this country is foolish. It’s as foolish as claiming that these people are taking their jobs. Their weak and simplistic arguments should be discounted. If, as the President said, the GOP is serious about immigration reform, let Republicans act. Do something other than whine and complain. It has grown tiresome.