President Obama wants immigration reform now

President Obama photographed with Mexican President Felipe Calderon during a 2009 visit to New Mexico. Obama is hoping immigration reform won't be thrown onto the back burner again.

President Obama with Mexican President Felipe Calderon during a 2009 visit to Mexico City. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Now that the dust has begun to settle on the Arizona immigration law, President Obama doesn’t want immigration issues to be swept into a corner because some Republicans lack the will to take action. The Associated Press reports that in a recent speech at American University, President Obama called the immigration stance of 11 Republican senators into question. They had previously expressed the desire for pointed immigration reform, but are now retracting their efforts as election-year politics creep in.

Obama wants immigration reform to retain its momentum

The Arizona law served to highlight much of what Obama wants regarding immigration, even though the president considers it to be somewhat ill-conceived. It’s a “broken system,” one that cannot be solved merely with fences and agents on patrol. Government should be held responsible for border security, Obama stated. In turn, businesses should face heavy consequences for employing illegal immigrants. Those who do enter America illegally should also take responsibility for their actions and immediately work to rectify the wrong by working to become citizens. Achieving these ends will require bipartisan report, which is why the president directed the razor’s edge of his comments at the weak-kneed Republicans in question.

The GOP response fails to impress

Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, one of those receiving Obama’s immigration ire, claims that border security must be addressed before “comprehensive immigration reform,” if the two can in fact be separated and wiped clean of political doubletalk. Other Republicans approach the matter in a similar fashion. Considering recent AP polls (where 57 percent of respondents stated that illegal immigration is a drain on society and 80 percent felt the federal government should do more to curb illegal immigration), perhaps the hesitancy of politicians like Kyl is what’s ill-conceived.

Obama’s take on immigration policy

Obama’s immigration plan (as proposed by New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer and South Carolina Democratic Senator Lindsey Graham) would require illegal immigrants to own up to their actions. Fines, back taxes and community service would be involved, as well as the eventual date upon which legal status would be obtained. Unfortunately, Lindsey Graham has backed down on doing anything about immigration reform this year.

SB 1070 is just a single step

Full accountability will be the key to effective immigration reform and border security. The president’s recent order for SB 1070 will bolster already existing border security forces, but a political message must be sent that America will not condone illegal immigration any longer. Previous political inaction is in itself a tacit admission that it has been proper, or at least an admission that your elected officials are willing to sacrifice your resources and safety for votes.


Associated Press

President Obama’s immigration reform speech at American University:

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