State of the Union: Obama Gives a Tepid Amnesty Endorsement

Watching the annual State of the Union address is painful. The speeches are long winded sessions where the nation’s real problems (overpopulation, 15 percent U-6 unemployment, 46 million American living in poverty, failed schools and a $1.4 trillion deficit to name the most glaring) are ignored.

Instead the sitting presidents pat themselves on the back for their non-accomplishments and make promises they know they can’t deliver on.

Since my journalism beat is immigration and because immigration is today’s, yesterday’s and tomorrow’s hot button subject, I steeled myself and tuned in. Last night’s exercise had an additional grueling responsibility—to watch the Gang of Eight’s Marco Rubio, a key to the so called bipartisan Senate amnesty agreement, deliver his Republican response to President Obama—two boring speeches for the price of one.

When you know what’s coming, the results are easier to cope with.Watching Obama promote his amnesty vision was like going to the dentist—to put it behind you, you first have to sit through it. On immigration, Obama offered no surprises. If asked to write the immigration portion of Obama’s speech, I could have done it in a breeze, so predictable was his advocacy.

I’m more interested in the between the lines messages than what Obama actually said. To set the stage, here are a few excerpts from the transcript:

“Our economy is stronger when we harness the talents of ingenuity of striving, hopeful immigrants and right now, the leaders of business, labor, law enforcement, faith communities, they all agree that the time has come to pass comprehensive immigration reform.”

Obama’s misleading statement offered nothing new. Dating back to the 2006 attempted but failed amnesty, most of these groups have promoted mass immigration for their own selfish reasons—cheap labor, more union members and more parishioners. Law enforcement, however, is not onboard. In one glaring example, last year ten U.S. Customs and Enforcement agents sued the Obama administration for its non-enforcement policy in a Texas federal court.

Increasing legal immigration got a mandatory plug, too. Obama wants “…to cut waiting periods and attract the highly skilled entrepreneurs and engineers that will help create jobs and grow our economy.”

Last night offered another unsurprising but highly offensive, rub your nose in it ploy. About 200 attendees—boldly emerging from the omnipresent shadows— were aliens. Naturally, they were chosen from the tiny percentage of illegal immigrants who hold professional degrees but did not include high school drop outs or other under achievers. [Some Attending Obama Speech Are in the U.S. Illegally, by Alan Gomez, USA Today, February 13, 2013]

Although last night’s annoyances were many, some positives surfaced. From his hour-long speech, Obama spent a mere 2-1/2 minutes on immigration. And those few minutes came well after the halfway mark by which time many in the television audience had either switched the channel or fallen asleep.

As for Rubio, he seemed not to want to talk about immigration at all. Rubio made a fleeting reference to his Cuban immigrant parents and to creating a legal immigration system that attracts more of “the best and brightest. Read the text of Rubio’s speech here.

Perhaps Rubio has sensed that he’s overstepped and that the company he’s been keeping recently, Chuck Schumer, Richard Durbin, et al, is hurting more than helping him.

In summary, Obama’s speech and Rubio’s reply were more tepid than I anticipated. Neither did anything to advance their parallel amnesty hopes.

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