Thoughts on the president’s immigration speech?

Well, I’ve been fighting serious problems with my laptop for the past hour (including one appearance of the dreaded blue screen!), so I’m not going to say as much about this as I would otherwise. Bottom line, I thought the president argued his case ably. And I think that logically, the onus is on the members of Congress who will criticize him for acting: If they want a different approach, pass a bill. You’ve got a perfectly good one sitting in front of you, House members. Just take a vote. The president wants you to. I want you to. Most Americans want you to. But because a very angry, vocal minority don’t want you to, you don’t. And that’s no excuse. I couldn’t find an embed code for the speech, but it’s contained in the Tweet embedded above, in case you missed it. It’s not very long. Here’s the full text. Below are my Tweets from during and right after the speech. Below that is a video reaction from Lindsey Graham. I was not favorably impressed. He knows the problem. He says “the broken immigration system” three times. He doesn’t explain why the president is wrong to try to fix it, and he in no way backs up his statement that the president  “has done great damage to our nation” by making the attempt. But anyway, here are the Tweets:

9 thoughts on “Thoughts on the president’s immigration speech?

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    Joe Wilson fulminates:


    (WASHINGTON, DC) – Congressman (SC-02) issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s immigration executive order that will grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants already living in the United States.

    “President Obama’s unilateral decision to pardon illegal aliens for breaking our laws reaches a level of unprecedented irresponsibility,” Congressman Wilson stated. “This action is a deliberate overreach of presidential authority and ignores the will of the American people. I fully support House Speaker John Boehner’s pledge to ‘fight tooth and nail’ to stop this executive order. Additionally, over sixty colleagues and I have asked House Appropriators to block every possible penny that could be spent for implementation.”

    “Our weak economy cannot afford another blow inflicted by big-government policies. Granting amnesty is never the right answer, especially when it rewards the unlawful and destroys jobs for Americans. Job creation claims to be a top priority for the President, but his actions support the contrary. In 2006, the President acknowledged that an influx in illegal immigration threatened wages of the working-class and risked exploitation of safety nets in place for those in need. Eight years later, it is clear he abandoned this belief.

    “Our immigration system is broken because the President has failed to enforce the laws already on the books. Moving forward, the President should focus on implementing current law rather than circumventing Congress to promote the interests of illegal aliens over the well-being of American families.”

  2. Barry

    Didn’t watch it. News channels released the info earlier today. I didn’t need to hear mr Obama repeat it.

    Every 20 years or so we try to fix immigration. We will be doing it again in 10-20 years when the problem is even worse.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Barry, I recommend watching it. I think the president makes his case well, and the presentation adds up to something more compelling than just reading a bulleted list of proposals…

      I’ve never been a great fan of TV news, but this is one thing that video really helps with — an important speech, a debate. For almost everything else, I prefer the written word…

  3. Burl Burlingame

    The “very angry, vocal minority” is permanently angry. It is the plank in their platform.

  4. M. Prince

    For a change, how about a taste of opinion from abroad. Here are some excerpts from a German op-ed:

    “It’s is one of the US’s great injustices that millions of people live and work in this country with no prospect of legalization, subject to fear and arbitrary treatment. The state often tears families apart, sending parents away while children remain behind. Obama offers these people nothing more than minimal protection: He merely promises some non-citizens that they will not be deported for now. Obama does not hand out health insurance, he offers no right to permanent residency, no passport. His successor could put an end to this rational, restrained empathy with a mere signature. For now, it’s the most that American can offer its illegal immigrants. It’s an overdue gesture of sanity, of humanity and of thanks to millions of those living in the shadows whose cheap labor is gladly exploited but whose presence is often considered a nuisance.
    When Republicans accuse Obama of committing a kind of coup, they’re merely deflecting attention from their own failure. […]
    In reality, the long overdue immigration reform collapsed due to the blockade put up by Republican Speaker John Boehner. […] This represents a drastic failure of responsibility.
    Obama has now taken on this responsibility himself. He is demonstrating, if somewhat late, the steadfastness and sense of principle that one expects of a president. His opponents accuse him of poisoning the atmosphere. That’s nonsense. First of all, the atmosphere has been poisoned for a long time already. And second, despite all their threats, facing down the Republicans has repeatedly proven its worth. Obama demonstrated this last during the “shutdown,” when he simply ignored the right’s attempt at blackmail.
    Ronald Reagan once said, may the “shining city” that is America open its gates to all those who are willing and able to come. Obama has not opened any gates, he is simply welcoming those who have been living there a long time already.”

  5. Mark Stewart

    What strikes me most is how much today’s political climate in DC is like a divorce. Each side believes it is confronting an “injustice”. There is no such thing; both parties have responsibilities.

    Still, I remain optimistic. Collaborative disagreement is possible. Communication matters. Too much is no longer face to face, but is positioned in the media instead of addressed in a club, backroom, whatever one wants to call the terrain of interactive, respectful deal making. Our national politics needs more privacy, not more “exposure”.

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