Just a Thought: President’s Immigration speech
By Steve Walker
This past week President Obama made good on his promise to issue an executive order on immigration during a televised press conference from the White House. Not all media outlets covered it due to various reasons that only the major networks can truly explain. Many on both sides are still reacting to his words--some are relieved in the Hispanic community such as Dreamers while others not so much.
Some Americans believe his willingness to “over step his authority” as President, violated his presidential oath to uphold the tenets of the constitution. Others believe he was well within his right to do so as previous Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Walker Bush. Both Reagan and Bush issued executive orders limiting immigrant deportation as well, setting the precedent.
He pointed out that he was attempting to correct policies that he believed unjustly punished parents of children who were born in this country, although the parents were not naturalized citizens. The terms “illegal” or “undocumented” come to mind depending on each individuals take on the subject.
An excerpt from his speech.
“My fellow Americans, tonight, I’d like to talk with you about immigration.
“For more than 200 years, our tradition of welcoming immigrants from around the world has given us a tremendous advantage over other nations. It’s kept us youthful, dynamic, and entrepreneurial. It has shaped our character as a people with limitless possibilities – people not trapped by our past, but able to remake ourselves as we choose.
But today, our immigration system is broken, and everybody knows it.”
He pointed out that some play by the rules and others don’t. He talked about exploitation by some businesses, and how many immigrants are forced to remain in the shadows at risk of their families being torn apart.
He said, “It’s been this way for decades. And for decades, we haven’t done much about it.”
He reminded the country in his address that when he took office he was committed to fixing the problem. He noted that America has more agents and technology deployed to secure the southern border than at any time in our history.
He also pointed out that during his term, illegal border crossings have been cut by more than half and the number of unaccompanied children is now actually lower than it’s been in nearly two years. He emphasized the number of people trying to cross the border illegally is at its lowest level since the 1970s.
He also addressed his attempt to work with Congress to come to a common sense compromise.
He laid out his plan of adding additional resources for law enforcement to stem the tide of illegal crossings. He also explained his effort to make it easier and faster for high-skilled immigrants, graduates, and entrepreneurs to stay and contribute to our economy, as so many business leaders have proposed.
Finally he offered steps to deal responsibly with the millions of undocumented immigrants who already live in our country.
“Over the past six years, deportations of criminals are up 80 percent. And that’s why we’re going to keep focusing enforcement resources on actual threats to our security. Felons, not families. Criminals, not children. Gang members, not a mother who’s working hard to provide for her kids. We’ll prioritize, just like law enforcement does every day,” he added.
He challenged the Congress to do their job and pass an acceptable immigration bill in his parting words. He also said, “Scripture tells us that we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger – we were strangers once, too.”
He closed by saying, Thank you, God bless you, and God bless this country we love."
In the days the days to come, La Prensa readers and all Americans will decide if the President did the right thing or not. Only time will tell.
As Always, I write just a thought.
Steve Walker is a Viet Nam Veteran, former Journalist and Justice of the Peace.