Barack Obama's State of the Union: Immigration Reform Not on Agenda
Friend to the brown man? It remains to be seen...
Barack Obama achieved the presidency in part because of the votes of U.S. Hispanics. According the Pew Hispanic Center, 67 percent of Latinos voted for Obama over John McCain in 2008.
And yet, the Obama administration has given little more than lip-service to an issue that directly affects the extended families of many American Latinos: immigration reform.
Indeed, in Obama's State of the Union speech last night, the President effectively snubbed the concept of Comprehensive Immigration Reform by mentioning the subject only in passing, and even then, only in the context of national security.
"We should continue the work of fixing our broken immigration system," Obama told the U.S. Congress, "to secure our borders and enforce our laws, and ensure that everyone who plays by the rules can contribute to our economy and enrich our nation."
That was it, one line, in a speech that rambled through such topics as campaign finance, bipartisanship, the economy, Iraq, Afghanistan, gay rights, the environment, the financial bailout, and so on.
In essence, Obama's message to the 12 million undocumented squeaking by on the margins, and to those who advocate on their behalf, is: Don't hold your breath, amigos.
How does he get away with this, when more than 30 percent of America's foreign-born population is from Mexico alone, and when Hispanics have backed him in record numbers?
Easy, he and his political advisors can read the polls. As the Pew Hispanic Center noted in a November, 2009 analysis, "Immigration has been a low- to mid-tier issue with the U.S. public for the past three years."
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