News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C., Weds. Jan. 29, 2014: In the two weeks prior to the 2014 State of the Union, U.S. President, Barack Obama had invigorated many immigrants and advocates by stating: “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone.”
Many took this to mean he would threaten Congress with executive action on the immigration front, including a halt on deportation, should they not hurry up and pass an immigration reform measure soon.
But on Tuesday night, many were left disappointed as the President choose to play it safe on the hot button issue. With Speaker John Boehner and Vice President Joe Biden sitting above him in the Senate Chambers, President Obama choose not to make any specific legislative requests of the Republican Congress.
Instead the President played politics, staying away from setting out any legislative markers or announcing any bold executive orders to halt deportation. He did not even call for a pathway to legal status and ultimately citizenship for the estimated 11 million people in the country illegally.
Obama overall did not spend much time on the issue. His only statement was: “Finally, if we are serious about economic growth, it is time to heed the call of business leaders, labor leaders, faith leaders, and law enforcement – and fix our broken immigration system. Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have acted.
“I know that members of both parties in the House want to do the same. Independent economists say immigration reform will grow our economy and shrink our deficits by almost $1 trillion in the next two decades. And for good reason: when people come here to fulfill their dreams – to study, invent, and contribute to our culture – they make our country a more attractive place for businesses to locate and create jobs for everyone. So let’s get immigration reform done this year.”
But Brooklyn Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, who made sure her program was autographed after the speech by POTUS, did not seem to mind, commending the President in a statement for addressing comprehensive immigration reform in his State of the Union Address.
Even as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who helped craft an immigration bill that passed the Senate last June, said Obama was “wise” not to.
Perhaps so since House Republicans plan to discuss their immigration proposals during the three-day GOP retreat on the Eastern Shore of Maryland starting today.
One can only hope now the President played the right card Tuesday night and it was not too safe.
Let us know your thoughts.
MISSING FROM THE SPEECH
The Caribbean was completely ignored in the Speech even though Africa, Latin America, Tunisia, Burma and even Ukraine, were all mentioned.