President Obama’s State of the Union Address and Immigration

In his eighth and final State of the Union Address to the nation last night, President Barak Obama mentioned Immigration Reform in the first moments of his speech. For Americans eager to hear words of encouragement regarding his plan on the immigration topic during the remainder of his term of presidency, many were disappointed. The President touched briefly on his position that the Immigration system in the United States remains “broken.” In direct contrast in 2013 just three years ago, one of the top priorities that President Obama spoke about during his State of the Union address was Immigration Reform. Not as long ago, in last year’s State of the Union address the President mentioned specific plans for a path to citizenship for undocumented individuals. Last January, he spoke about the increased need for border security in the southern states as well as the need for the current immigration system to be streamlined from its current and often convoluted processing procedures.

The reason the President may have avoided speaking in great detail on his potential plans is because the Republican House is set to work on their plan for proposed immigration guidelines as early as this week. It is speculated that the President did not want to touch on a “hot topic” that could draw up further hostility and controversy, damaging any potential changes for positive reform.

Last year, President Obama attempted to sign into law an Executive Action on Immigration Reform but that effort was been blocked by Republican anti-immigrant activists who filed an injunction and following that appealed his action. The issue remains slated for review by the United States Supreme Court this coming spring. Interesting, the President did not mention any further plans for any such action in the immigration arena in his address last night. Immigration supporters have urged the President to take action to stop the deportation and removal of undocumented individuals in the United States who are free of any criminal history. Their pleas went unanswered in his address last night where he avoided any real substantive discussion of this particular issue.

The President made a comment that both Republican and Democratic leaders in the Senate have made action on the immigration front. He further stated that he feels Republicans and Democrats in the House also wish to act regarding immigration reform. The President made a point of speaking about Independent economists and their view that a Comprehensive Immigration Reform will help to grow the U.S. economy and further help move the country towards a significant decrease in deficit.

Finally, the President commented that when immigrants come to the United States in order to fulfill their dreams of pursuing further education, they add to the country by building the U.S. with their ideas and enterprises, helpings the economy and attracting international investors creating employment opportunities. This positive spin on Immigration Reform is something the Democratic Party has stood behind from day one. President Obama’s last comment, “let’s get immigration reform done this year” rings true for many Americans who support the idea of immigration reform.

Of course, immigration reform may not become a reality if certain candidates are elected President. Surely, President Trump or President Cruz will only advocate mass deportations with any immigration reform being presented as more restrictive instead of more inclusive. Time will tell what it is that the American people want.

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