News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. Jan. 13, 2016: As the Obama administration ramped up immigration raids across the country, rounding up Central American immigrants who have failed to qualify for asylum, the President used his final State of the Union to skip his usual immigration reform push and instead focus on Cuba and slamming Republican Presidential front-runners pushing a politics of divide.
As a Dreamer, (a young undocumented immigrant hoping for immigration reform) sat in the audience, a guest of the White House, President Obama used his final official speech to Congress as President to dedicate only a single fragment to the hot button issue as he called for “fixing a broken immigration system.”
That was it; Nothing else, nada!
No calls to Congress to get immigration reform back on the table this year; no vision plan to help those hard working immigrants who have been living in the country without legal working papers for years while paying taxes; no call to action to work on a plan to boost border security agents or create a path to legalization. It was as if the President had simply given up on the issue that helped him get elected and chosen instead to kick the can down the road to the next President – hopefully another of his Democratic colleague.
Instead, the President used his final State of the Union to push his Cuba agenda while calling for a cure for cancer and dedicating a large part of his address to chastising Republican Presidential contenders who have been pushing divisive politics of race and religion.
“You want to consolidate our leadership and credibility in the hemisphere? Recognize that the Cold War is over. Lift the embargo,” Obama challenged the Congress.
He also insisted he “will keep working to shut down the prison at Guantanamo,” the U.S. prison on the Caribbean island.
“It’s expensive, it’s unnecessary, and it only serves as a recruitment brochure for our enemies,” Obama said.
Instead Obama used a large portion of his speech to slam the current Republican front-runners.
“When politicians insult Muslims, when a mosque is vandalized, or a kid bullied, that doesn’t make us safer. That’s not telling it like it is,” Obama said. “It’s just wrong. It diminishes us in the eyes of the world. It makes it harder to achieve our goals. And it betrays who we are as a country.”
This led to South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley in her response for the GOP calling for a tamping down from her Party’s candidates of the hateful rhetoric.
Haley also ironically dedicated more in her speech to immigration than Obama.
“We must fix our broken immigration system. That means stopping illegal immigration. And it means welcoming properly vetted legal immigrants, regardless of their race or religion. Just like we have for centuries,” the daughter of Indian immigrants said.
So much for a “dream we can believe in” Mr. President!