Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Obama Attempts to Resurrect Amnesty with Speech

Less than two months after Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle declared immigration reform dead in 2010 (See FAIR’s Legislative Update, May 17, 2010), President Obama is trying to resurrect attempts to grant amnesty to the approximately 11 million illegal aliens currently living in the United States. Speaking at American University in Washington on July 1, Obama reiterated his support for a “pathway for legal status” for illegal aliens.

Early in his speech, the president argued “that being an American is not a matter of blood or birth.” Obama went on to acknowledge that “our borders have been porous for decades,” and noted that the federal government’s failure to enforce immigration laws has created a “breach,” causing “states like Arizona…to take matters into their own hands.” Nonetheless, the president condemned Arizona’s new immigration law, SB 1070, as “ill-conceived” and “divisive.” “Our task then,” Obama argued, “is to make our national laws actually work – to shape a system that reflects our values as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.”

Making his pitch for amnesty, the president attempted to define what he described as “the two poles” of the immigration debate. On one hand, Obama noted, “there are those in the immigrants’ rights community who have argued passionately that we should simply provide those who are [here] illegally with legal status, or at least ignore the laws on the books and put an end to deportation until we have better laws.” While the president acknowledged “the sense of compassion that drives this argument,” he went on to describe such an approach as “indiscriminate” and “unwise and unfair.”