Wednesday, January 29, 2014

President Obama's Disappointing (and Brief) Call for Immigration Reform in the SOTU


Last night, Professor Villazor blogged about President Obama's call for immigration reform in the State of the Union address.  (As a point of reference, click here to see how much time the President has spent on immigration in previous SOTU speeches.).  Although others view his careful call for reform (and here) with some optimism, I tend to agree with the following characterization

"President Barack Obama only mentioned immigration reform efforts as a mere throwaway line in his State of the Union speech Tuesday evening. The only time he mentioned the matter . . . was as something he argued would help the economy after a long line of other policy prescriptions he pushed." (emphasis added).

In some ways, it sounded like the President wasgoiung through the motions and  touching all the bases.  Besides the paltry amount of time he spent on immigration, he failed to offer a moral imperative for immigration reform.  Nor did he mention how long the nation has waited for reform.  He did not mention how deportations were destroying families and communities.  He did not mention that the failure of reform has left millions of people, including but not limited to the DREAMers, in perpetual immigration limbo. 

President Obama knows how to ht an emotional high note, as he hit one in introducing wounded veteran Cory Remsburg to the nation at the end of his speech.  But when it came to immigration, he left it to economic arguments.  Although I tend to agree with his economics analysis, I wish the President had made immigration reform a moral as well as economic imperative.  To me, it just sounded like immigration reform was another item on President Obama's legislative agenda.


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