Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Immigration Reform and the State of the Union

ImmigrationProf reported yesterday that several undocumented immigrants would be attending President Obama's State of the Union address.  As expected, the President touted immigration reform in his speech:

"Our economy is stronger when we harness the talents and ingenuity of striving, hopeful immigrants. (Applause.) And right now, leaders from the business, labor, law enforcement, faith communities -- they all agree that the time has come to pass comprehensive immigration reform. (Applause.) Now is the time to do it. Now is the time to get it done. Now is the time to get it done. (Applause.)

Real reform means strong border security, and we can build on the progress my administration has already made -- putting more boots on the Southern border than at any time in our history and reducing illegal crossings to their lowest levels in 40 years.

Real reform means establishing a responsible pathway to earned citizenship -- a path that includes passing a background check, paying taxes and a meaningful penalty, learning English, and going to the back of the line behind the folks trying to come here legally. (Applause.)

And real reform means fixing the legal immigration system to cut waiting periods and attract the highly-skilled entrepreneurs and engineers that will help create jobs and grow our economy. (Applause.)

In other words, we know what needs to be done. And as we speak, bipartisan groups in both chambers are working diligently to draft a bill, and I applaud their efforts. So let’s get this done. Send me a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the next few months, and I will sign it right away. And America will be better for it. (Applause.) Let’s get it done. Let’s get it done."

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) offered the Republican response to the President's address.  Among other things, he emphasized his humble roots -- clearly distancing himself from Mitt Romney -- and how his immigrant parents came to this nation of opportunity to better their lives and those of their children.  In one of the few areas in which Senator Rubio agreed with the President, he suggested the possibility of immigration reform:

"We can also help our economy grow if we have a legal immigration system that allows us to attract and assimilate the world's best and brightest. We need a responsible, permanent solution to the problem of those who are here illegally. But first, we must follow through on the broken promises of the past to secure our borders and enforce our laws."

Senator Rubio is one of the group of eight U.S. Senators who have endorsed a set of principles for immigration reform.

I thought that Senator Rubio was a polished and compelling speaker.  However, it appears that the intenet is atwitter over his mid-speech water break.


Rand Paul (R-Ky), in the Tea Party response to the President's speech, also endorsed immigration reform.


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