As Republicans become more anti-immigrant, President Obama repeated his pledge to fight to bring undocumented immigrants out of the shadows during his weekly address.
In his weekly address, President Obama said:
Of course, we can’t just celebrate this heritage, we have to defend it – by fixing our broken immigration system. Nearly two years ago, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate came together to do that. They passed a commonsense bill to secure our border, get rid of backlogs, and give undocumented immigrants who are already living here a pathway to citizenship if they paid a fine, paid their taxes, and went to the back of the line. But for nearly two years, Republican leaders in the House have refused to even allow a vote on it.
That’s why, in the meantime, I’m going to keep doing everything I can to make our immigration system more just and more fair. Last fall, I took action to provide more resources for border security; focus enforcement on the real threats to our security; modernize the legal immigration system for workers, employers, and students; and bring more undocumented immigrants out of the shadows so they can get right with the law. Some folks are still fighting against these actions. I’m going to keep fighting for them. Because the law is on our side. It’s the right thing to do. And it will make America stronger.
I want us to remember people like Ann Dermody from Alexandria, Virginia. She’s originally from Ireland and has lived in America legally for years. She worked hard, played by the rules and dreamed of becoming a citizen. In March, her dream came true. And before taking the oath, she wrote me a letter. “The papers we receive…will not change our different accents [or] skin tones,” Ann said. “But for that day, at least, we’ll feel like we have arrived.”
Well, to Ann and immigrants like her who have come to our shores seeking a better life – yes, you have arrived. And by sharing our stories, and staying true to our heritage as a nation of immigrants, we can keep that dream alive for generations to come.
Obama’s remarks are likely to send Republicans into ear-splitting fitful screams of amnesty. Last month, Ted Cruz summed up the Republican position, “Well, but if you grant in-state tuition to students who are here illegally, that comes at the expense of American citizens or it comes at the expense of legal immigrants who follow the rules to come here, you know, there’s a finite number of slots, and a finite number of dollars. And often the people that get left behind in this immigration debate are legal immigrants, are people like my dad who in 1957 fled Cuba, he came on a student visa, came here legally, and I think most American people outside of Washington agree that we need to secure the borders, we need to stop illegal immigration. Amnesty is wrong.”
Scott Walker has completely flipped-flopped on immigration, and now suggests that legal immigration should be reduced, “The next president and the next Congress need to make decisions about a legal immigration system that’s based on, first and foremost, on protecting American workers and American wages. It is a fundamentally lost issue by many in elected positions today, is what is this doing for American workers looking for jobs, what is this doing to wages, and we need to have that to be at the forefront of our discussion going forward.”
Being that many Republicans are taking hard-line stances against legal immigration, President Obama’s statements about getting undocumented immigrants right with the law should make their heads explode.
The Republican Party has become firmly anti-immigrant, which is why immigrant support for Democrats continues to grow even as President Obama’s time in office is winding down.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association