Obama’s immigration speech a hollow echo of reality

            President Barack Obama’s speech on immigration reform proved to be as much of a disappointment as his 17 months in office. Offering nothing more than my-way-or-the-highway comprehensive amnesty, the speech does not even qualify as a good sales pitch.

            For those who missed seeing or reading the speech, what follows is a critique of the president’s speech and the issues he cited, and those he chose to ignore.

            The president surrounded himself with toadying loyalists in a safe setting where comprehensive amnesty is viewed as the only solution. He lacks the leadership and the courage to come to one of the Border States and confront the issues head on.

          Invokes the ghost of Ted Kennedy.Kennedy’s “legacy” of civil rights, health care and worker protections will continue to haunt this nation long after Mary Jo Kopechne’s name is completely forgotten.

            Candidate Obama promised to “squarely confront our challenges with honesty and determination.” In the opinion of many he “tackled” the economy, health care, energy, foreign affair, two wars and the Gulf oil spill duplicitously. His policies “could consign ourselves and our children to a future less prosperous and less secure.” 

            A lengthy diatribe about politics-as-usual, partisanship and negative public opinion standing in the way of the wonderful utopian nirvana of a nanny-state that awaits. 

            A history lesson on the role immigration played in building this country with a few personal examples cited. This lesson in diversity is clear to most Americans who also recognize that the examples Obama cited were all legal immigrants. The issue in Arizona, and the country, is not legal immigrants. He is sidestepping the real issue and almost halfway through the speech has offered no plan to address the consequences of the broken immigration system. 

            Continuing historical references, he couches the argument for comprehensive amnesty in terms of fear and resentment against newcomers. The fear in Arizona is of murderously violent cartels and the resentment is over $2 billion per year of taxpayer money the illegal immigrants cost the state.

            We have a porous border and don’t track visas well. At least he does admit the immigration problem is nationwide, but the administration’s estimate of 11-million illegals in the country is suspect and conservative at best. He rightfully criticizes the American industries that benefit from hiring low wage illegals. Why then did the Department of Justice challenge Arizona’s employer sanctions law? It was upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court, the most liberal of the federal circuit courts, but will be reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court in October by request of the DOJ. 

            Another acknowledgement of a broken system that takes too long for legal immigration to happen. Not the issue the majority of Americans view as most pressing.

            He takes credit for forging the McCain-Kennedy amnesty plan during George W. Bush’s presidency. It was vociferously rejected by overwhelming public opinion in both political parties. It sustained Sen. John McCain’s reputation as a flip-flopper and contributed to his loss to Obama in 2008.

             Obama again calls Arizona’s SB 1070 “ill conceived,” but it mirrors federal law and adds specific restrictions against racial profiling the federal statutes do not have. His statement perpetuates lies and misconceptions. If states cannot enforce federal laws, then why does the government already empower hundreds of law enforcement agencies in 24 states to do so? It is a straw-man argument aimed at eroding states’ rights. 

            The national immigration laws would work better if the federal government enforced them instead of conveniently ignoring them for political benefit. Period. Regardless of the motivation for coming to this country the United States is under no obligation to throw open its borders to ever one who wants to come here. The U.S. never has and should not. We are free to pick and choose the cream of the crop and to apprehend and deport any and all illegal immigrants, and their minor children. 

            Acknowledging American skepticism over blanket amnesty Obama correctly notes that rounding up and deporting all illegals in the U.S. is impossible and costly, he rejects the notion that enforcing the law would encourage voluntary departures by many illegal immigrants and discourage the stream of those who continue to pour across the border. 

            Obama asserts that the border is more secure and cites lower crime rates. Indeed, some types of crime are down, but the crime associated with the cartels, kidnapping, murder, smuggling drugs and people, assaults on law enforcement officers, and social program fraud are not going down. Violence is on the increase.

            The border is not more secure. Obama is correct that it can never be completely sealed, but withholding resources to force Republicans to get behind amnesty is the wrong approach. It endangers America. Not all the people coming over the border are looking for work. 

            Businesses must be held accountable for hiring illegals. Okay, Americans are with him on that one, but we remember that when Obama was a senator he voted to gut the guest worker program that was part of a previous immigration reform. 

            The citizens of America also have rights and we recognize the responsibilities of citizenship. Get right with the law, get in line, pay a fine and learn English, says Obama, and open the path to citizenship. It is amnesty and obfuscation that does not address the real problem. A step-by-step approach is called for and conservatives and Republicans need to be steadfast in opposing comprehensive reforms. 

            The DREAM act is a nightmare. 

            Having laid out his “elements of comprehensive immigration reform,” Obama calls for politicians and citizens to support his program. He has presented no concrete ideas or solutions and the people and organizations he mentions are as disappointed with this speech as the conservatives he criticizes.

            Obama is ready to move forward with his Democratic colleagues on their plan. He appears unaware or unable to acknowledge that the majority of Americans reject comprehensive amnesty.

            Obama believes “we can put politics aside,” and Americans want the president to be the first to put his politics aside and act for the benefit and safety of the nation by first securing the border. One step at a time will lead to comprehensive and fair immigration reform. 

            The president cited the words of Emma Lazarus’ poem The New Colossus etched into the Statute of Liberty. Ms. Lazarus’ concerns with the plight of refugees and Jews more than a century ago have little crossover to the problems assaulting our southern border. Americans are not committing crimes against illegal immigrants in this country. Immigrants commit a crime by crossing the border illegally and “kicking the can down the road” holding the Border States hostage to comprehensive amnesty will not solve the problem.

          A full transcript of Obama’s speech can be seen at the Wall Street Journal’s blog.

           Visit ShallowNation.com for a video of the speech.

          Breitbart.com has Karl Rove’s preview of the speech Wednesday night. Rove predicted a disappointing result lacking substantive reform ideas other than amnesty.

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About zingstrom

Journalist, free-lance writer, photographer and aviator.
This entry was posted in Opinions and Op-Eds and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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