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What Obama didn't -- and couldn't -- say on immigration

By Edward Schumacher- Matos

President Obama said all the right things in his speech on reforming immigration today -- except one: that he was going to do anything.

He didn’t announce a new comprehensive reform bill. He didn’t pledge action on the limited bills already in Congress covering students or agricultural workers. He didn’t even say whether the federal government is going to sue the state of Arizona, which, apparently, the Justice Department is preparing to do over the state’s recently passed “papers please” immigration law.

But all this is not to say that the speech wasn’t useful. It was. Words are powerful, and Obama’s words today keep rationality -- and even some inspiration -- over immigration alive. This is at a time that fear, misinformation, demagoguery, partisanship and special interest blinders have created a toxic cauldron and divided the nation.

Obama couldn’t do much more than offer hope, even if he tried. “The question now is whether we will have the courage and the political will to pass a bill through Congress, to finally get it done,” he said today, and the answer is no. Our political leaders are too afraid.

As Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California said yesterday, even many Democrats aren’t willing to take on the issue the before the November midterm elections. Unless a bill focuses only on more border enforcement and efforts to kick out the nearly 11 million unauthorized immigrants here, not one Republican senator is willing to sign on, either. This is despite the fact that many, such as Arizona’s own senators, Republicans John McCain and John Kyl, have acknowledged in the past that enforcement by itself is insufficient, impractical and un-American.

Perhaps because Obama knows the futility of trying to pass any sort of comprehensive immigration reform this year, the president slipped in a jab to score political points, blaming only the Republicans for the timidity in Congress. “That is the political and mathematical reality,” he said of the need for their votes.

Whether that strategy, which the Democrats may try to ride through November, will be enough to satisfy their base, particularly Hispanics, remains to be seen. Gallup reports that while the approval rating of Obama among whites has remained steady since January, it has dropped among Hispanics from 69 percent to 57 percent. Most of that is because of frustration over immigration policy, however petulant that might be.

Obama today stood on the same policy ground that his predecessor, George W. Bush, and most pragmatists and realists who study immigration stand on. He called for an earned pathway to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants here while continuing to improve enforcement on the border and among employers to make it harder for more to come illegally in the future.

Indeed, building on Bush policies, the administration has detained and deported more unauthorized immigrants than ever before and built up border defenses to be greater than ever before. “The border is more secure today than at any time in the last 20 years,” he correctly said, but that hasn’t won him or comprehensive reform any support on the right, while costing him on the left.

More fundamentally Obama recognized that, nonetheless, there is some truth in almost all sides of the debate. He acknowledged the tension between being a “nation of immigrants and a nation of law.” He used each side’s favorite buzzwords: “accountability,” no “amnesty,” “compassion,” etc. In that, he, like Bush, is trying to build bridges. But the extremists, particularly on the angry immigrant restrictionist right, see only their truth.

And so the federal government is frozen while most Americans demand action. Repeated polls show that a solid majority support both the earned pathway to legalization and the Arizona law. Most probably agree with Obama when he said, logically, that “our borders are just too vast for us” to be able to seal them with fences and border patrol. “It just won’t work.” They overwhelmingly agree with him, according to polls, that rounding up and evicting every unauthorized immigrant is impossible and would, as he said today, “tear at the very fabric of this nation.”

But Americans still want to fix the problem. No fixes were announced today. Stalemate, frustration and the toxic stew will continue to rein.

By Edward Schumacher-Matos  | July 1, 2010; 2:35 PM ET
Categories:  Schumacher-Matos  | Tags:  Edward Schumacher-Matos  
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Comments

"“The border is more secure today than at any time in the last 20 years,” he correctly said."

Really? By what measure is that statement correct?

Obama stopped construction of the fence. Napalotano stopped construction of the virtual fence. Napalotano has repeatedly said her resources would only enforce immigration violations against "serious" criminals. There are now 3,500 acres in Arizona with warning signs telling Americans to keep out due to illegal drug smugglers and human trafficers.

Just because Obama said it, doesn't make it true.

Posted by: kitchendragon50 | July 1, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Since when did carrying out the wishes of 60% + of the American electorate become " Too Afraid " ?
We live in a democracy where the vast majority of the citizens think 15 million illegal Mexicans is too many. Is that Fear or common sense ?
The blocks thrown up buy Corporate America ( they like the effect on supply and demand of cheap labor ) and the DNC ( they wan the future voters ) will only further enrage an electorate that would like the Government to do it's job. The politicians are going to find out in about 5 months.

Posted by: devluddite | July 1, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Obama is right! Comprehensive immigration reform must pass NOW! If Republicans won't support it everybody in immigrant community will know who to blame for that! Republicans do nothing but whine! Everybody knows that we have immigration mess that is getting worse every years and yet Republicans ignore it. It is not only un-american but also anti-immigrant politics. Reform is needed and everybody knows it!

Posted by: wachnick | July 1, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Obama didn't admit that he is an utter failure, but I guess that would have been pointing out the obvious.


Posted by: Jerzy | July 1, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

no matter what obama says the stupid do-nothing republicans will oppose it, stall it, argue against it without offering alternative ideas..... same old thing.

Posted by: EdSantaFe | July 1, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

"Comprehensive immigration reform" is a meaningless term. What has been proposed is to legalize the 10 (or 12 or 15) million and get ready for the next batch to arrive. Repeat every 20 years.

You first have to show which of the current laws are not working and why. Obama & company have chosen not to enforce the laws and use that as justification to write new laws.

Posted by: kitchendragon50 | July 1, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Two excellent comments sum it up very well.

"Obama stopped construction of the fence. Napalotano stopped construction of the virtual fence. Napalotano has repeatedly said her resources would only enforce immigration violations against "serious" criminals. There are now 3,500 acres in Arizona with warning signs telling Americans to keep out due to illegal drug smugglers and human trafficers."

"

"Comprehensive immigration reform" is a meaningless term. What has been proposed is to legalize the 10 (or 12 or 15) million and get ready for the next batch to arrive. Repeat every 20 years.

You first have to show which of the current laws are not working and why. Obama & company have chosen not to enforce the laws and use that as justification to write new laws."

Lies, corruption and deception is the name of the Obama game.

Posted by: richard36 | July 1, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

President Obama is a man of "words", not a man of "his word". He promised transparancy, he said he was for the "little guy", he said that his Healthcare would not affect the price of individual insurance, he said that unemployment would not be over 8 percent, etc, etc, etc. President Obama, Watch what he does, NOT what he says.

Posted by: barrysal | July 1, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

The only REAL action that could have helped, say circa 1930, would have been for God (or someone, somehow) explain the need for FAMILY PLANNING to the Dark Age ignoramuses in the Vatican - and pass that biological-ecological knowledge to the their tremendous numbers of parishioners in Mexico AND everywhere else!

Sorry - - It's too late now!

Posted by: lufrank1 | July 1, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Another baloney, bootlicking propaganda piece from another baloney, bootlicking WaPo propagandist.

"As Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California said yesterday, even many Democrats aren’t willing to take on the issue the before the November midterm elections."

Said another way, Democrats know that Americans don't want amnesty and don't want pay for ever more illegals, and that voters will make Democrats pay at the polls - so the Democrat strategy is to wait until after the elections to take the next step toward Oboobma's socialist wet dream.


Take the country back from these idiots. Counter-revolution in 2010...

Posted by: hill_marty | July 1, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

There is no need to preach we need action. We need to plug the hole to prevent men and women from entering the country without permission and we need to plug the hole in the Gulf. What happens after that is a subject for another time. Right now we need our President and Congress to act.

Posted by: almorganiv | July 1, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

This speech was pure political theater. Obama knows that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans want to touch immigration in an election year. However, he wanted to give something to his Latino base. Hence he gave a speech. If they buy that he really wants to move this issue along, they are being taken to the cleaners. Furthermore, after this election, everyone will be looking toward 2012. In these circumstances, no one will want to touch immigration reform. Simply put, whatever Obama says has no meaning and the immigration reform is being pushed down the road to past 2012. The interesting question that no one is asking is what will immigration reform look like after 2012. It may well be more generous or it may be more restrictive only time will tell. This is the sad truth that no one wants to acknowledge.

Posted by: jeffreed | July 1, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

What President Obama didn't do was to deal with the 900 pound gorilla in the room -
15 million unemployed Americans, who now need the jobs the illegals immigrants took durng boom times.

Obama talks about being concerned about unemployment. He's faking it. You can't be looking out for unemployed American citizens and not be doing everything possible to secure the border and deport the 10 to 20 million illegal aliens here.

That would put a big dent in the unemployment numbers, as well as reduce government deficits.

It's not like President Obama has any other solution to our big unemployment and debt problems. Even Obama has given up the chant that "green" jobs will solve the unemployment crisis and the Government keeps borrowing to pay for services to illegals who work, but who don't make enough money working to pay enough taxes to cover their share of Government expenses.

President Obama and the Dems seem to want to to keep Mexicans and other illegals employed and increase the debt to pay for unemployment and other benefits for unemployed Americans.

That's crazy.

Americans want jobs, not Government handouts while they watch illegals work.

Maybe Obama should consider what one of his purported heroes Franklin Roosevelt did. Roosevelt tried to put Americans back to work, not import low wage foreign labor to compete for scarce jobs.

Didn't Obama ever read The Grapes of Wrath or watch the movie? Those wreren't Mexicans working on California farms and consruction sites. Roosevelt wouldn't have been elected four times if he imported cheap foreign labor in the Depression.

Americans all across the country are getting back to basics as they scramble to find work to feed, clothe, house and educate their families. It's time the President and Government did the same.

Posted by: jfv123 | July 1, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

"This is at a time that fear, misinformation, demagoguery, partisanship and special interest blinders have created a toxic cauldron and divided the nation."

**************************

That's what they said about slavery, too.

Posted by: pmendez | July 1, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Is the new terminology "unauthorized" instead of "illegal" or "criminal"? So a thief is now an "unauthorized" property taker? A murderer an "unauthorized" life taker? The author makes ridiculous contortions to avoid the term "illegal alien"!

Posted by: Rehcab1 | July 1, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Obama proposed no action because he does not know what to do. He should keep his focus on creating jobs. Perhaps being a Harvard grad and a millionaire have made him less sensitive to the unemployment crisis which he gives only lip service to.

Posted by: cougartonyusa | July 1, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

I'VE BEEN PROFILED -- DIDN'T DIE


At border train station. ICE asked where I was going. In my PERFECT MIDWEST accent, I explain that I'm picking up someone. End of "profiling."

Was it annoying? Yeah -- just like OWE-BAMA'S SPENDING.

Did the world end? NO!

ILLEGALS GO HOME! TAKE THE ANCHOR BABIES WITH YOU!

GET IN LINE LIKE EVERYONE ELSE! SHAME ON YOU!

Posted by: russpoter | July 1, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

HE MUST BE GETTING ALL THIS FALSE INFORMATION FROM JANET NAPILITANO.HE ALSO KNOWS THAT WHAT ARIZONA DID IS THE ONLY WAY TO HANDLE THIS PROBLEM.HE WAS RIGHT ABOUT ONE THING,THAT WAS THIS COUNTRY WAS MADE UP THROUGH THE YEARS BY IMMIGRANTS.BUT NOT BY ILLEGAL ALIENS.

Posted by: SISSD1 | July 1, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Start shipping all 11 million of them home. If they return "illegally" then they go to jail for a couple of years and will have to work in jail to pay back the US taxpayers. Not rocket science Obama!

Posted by: cschotta1 | July 1, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

"OUR BORDERS ARE TOO VAST FOR US" :OBAMA THROWS IN THE TOWEL ON CONTROLLING THE BORDERS.

THE REAL MESSAGE OF THE SPEECH: THE BORDERS ARE OPEN AS LONG AS I'M POTUS.SO MUCH FOR THE RULE OF LAW.

Posted by: beecheery | July 1, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

There is no need to "reform" our immigration process - it works just fine - exactly as intended, extending invitations to immigrants who are able to stand on their own and give more to society than they take from it. Illegal aliens TAKE far more than they give and are not suitable candidates for a Visa - regardless of how long they have lived here or how many "anchor" children they have.

There is no need to expend resources detaining and deporting illegals. Cutting off jobs and benefits and service to them and their offspring should be sufficient to make them self-sufficient and keep their hands in their own pockets and and out of ours.

We already have E-Verify and SSN verification to screen out the illegals who demand jobs and tax funded services. Both DO work - for most of the businesses use both consistently.

To give a little edge to the illegals, when Congress authorized businesses to use E-Verify they intentionally diminished its efficiency when they make it voluntary rather than mandated - nationwide .

We can't hold anyone accountable if Obama and Congress continue to blind side Americans - until E-Verify and SSN verification is mandated nation-wide in the work place and all government agencies, Obama and Congress are only paying lip service.

If Obama and Congress aren't prepared to do what needs to bve done to enforce existing laws NOW, we have to presume they never intend to - now or after the elections when they are in safe zone.

Today, we have millions of Americans who are unemployed and under-employed while millions of illegal aliens' jobs are being protected by Obama and Congress. Why?

We do not need immigration reform - we need immigration enforcement.

Posted by: asmith1 | July 1, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Significant border security is difficult to achieve with such a very long border. Tens of thousands of border patrol agents and national guard troops would be needed on a permanent basis, as well as new, strict employment laws, that would be enforced.

Obama and Democrats in Congress are being more partisan on this issue, for a change, than Republicans. They are inhibited from pursuing their goal of near universal amnesty until after the elections. They can hardly wait in anticipation of winning millions of votes from persons who violated immigration laws, after becoming citizens.

Persons who apply legally to immigrate often do not have an easy path to entry to this country. Giving amnesty and a path to citizenship to illegal immigrants is an affront to the millions who came to this country legally.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | July 1, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Plug the hole(s) in the border Daddy!!!

Posted by: adamnescot1 | July 1, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

The sky must be falling: the President didn't blame George Bush for something.

As an Arizona resident, and someone who voted for Janet Napolitano twice, I find the latest defense of her (and the administrations) record on illegal immigration disingenuous, at best. During her term(s), few were louder than her when complaining about the porous border situation that Arizona had to tolerate, to the point where she threatened to send the Federal Government (i.e., George Bush) the bill for providing security. Her words ring hollow, and are quite tiresome.

With regard to "improvement", it's really quite simple: border crossings (and arrests) are down because the economy stinks. Many still try to get in because the economy in Mexico (and Central America) doesnt just stink, it absolutely reeks, and will probably never get better. Most third world countries will always be that way.

I expect SB1070 to get blocked, legally, by the Feds, and the immigration situation to remain the same, with no improvement, or change, whatsoever. The US taxpayer will continue to foot the bill for a broken border.

By the way, the ACLU issued a travel warning about going to, or through, Arizona. I wonder if they could also include in the warning the National Park area just south of Interstate 8 that the BLM is now warning people about entering. It seems a section of the United States has been reclaimed by Mexican coyotes and drug runners, and there's nothing we can, or will, do about it.

Meet the new boss...same as the old boss.

Posted by: ANCLvr | July 1, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

This is at a time that fear, misinformation, demagoguery, partisanship and special interest blinders have created a toxic cauldron and divided the nation. You have clearly defined the Obama administration. Thank you.


Posted by: houstonian | July 1, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

This is at a time that fear, misinformation, demagoguery, partisanship and special interest blinders have created a toxic cauldron and divided the nation. You have clearly defined the Obama administration. Thank you.


Posted by: houstonian | July 1, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

This is at a time that fear, misinformation, demagoguery, partisanship and special interest blinders have created a toxic cauldron and divided the nation. You have clearly defined the Obama administration. Thank you.

Posted by: houstonian | July 1, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Amnesty for those have broken the law is a slap in the face to everyone who has ever followed the law and stood in line to become a U.S. citizen, including my grandparents. It is a slap in the face to anyone who follows the law daily. If the law means nothing now, I guess I'll stop following it, too.

Posted by: retabroad | July 1, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

If we can send 150,000 troops to a foreign country, we can send half that to our own border.

And Obama thinks special interests have taken this immigration debate hostage? He's right. Just ask the pro-amnesty Hispanic group he met with just before his speech.

He's pandering to Hispanics. What about pandering to whites?? We built this country.

Posted by: retabroad | July 1, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

The local news reported tonight that the state of Oklahoma is experiencing major increase in mexicans bringing dope and drugs into their state. One official reported that it was due to Arizona's laws and enforcement. Every state had best take the precedent from Arizona and pass these laws and enforce these laws as well! My state will be soon.

Posted by: crowne2 | July 1, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

We in Texas are afraid to travel in our our State down into the Valley, South Padre, etc. where all the Winter Texans from all over the United States stay each year. The small town of Progresso, Mexico was built for Winter Texans to shop however, more people are afraid to just walk across the bridge from Texas to Progresso. I cannot imagine how the people of Arizona, the state with the most illegals, must feel; afraid all the time. Some of the illegals are not criminals but a great deal of them are criminals. It is insane for the mayor of NYC to call these illegals who break U.S. laws "immigrants". They are no more immigrants than the NYC mayor being an illegal. THESE ILLEGALS ARE BREAKING OUR LAWS. DOES NOT ANYONE IN THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION UNDERSTAND THAT? Apparently not as they do and believe what they want to do and believe irregardless of rules or laws. That is the Chicago Way.

Posted by: libertymeanslife | July 1, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

makes lots of sense: break U.S.A. laws by entering our country illegals and wait a while and the U.S.A. will make you a citizen of this country. Wonder how the folks who wait years and years and do it legally feel. What a messed up system we have in this country. Try going into Mexico and overstaying or just flat staying in Mexico and see what happens. You like Mexican jails? The U.S. is nuts.

Posted by: libertymeanslife | July 1, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

The Obamacrats have NO interest nor ability to govern the USA on behalf of its lawful citizens. No surprize as Obama's only credential for POTUS was his experience as yet another self-annointed community agitator - a Jesse Jackson clone. I have no doubt at "HE" cannot / will not secure our borders, BUT there are plenty of people who are far more capable than "HE" who can if "HE" would do the honorable thing and resign. But make sure Uncle Joe resigns too!

Posted by: HonestJohn501 | July 1, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

"But the extremists, particularly on the angry immigrant restrictionist right, see only their truth". Nonsense. I think the real extremists are those who want to legalize the illegal. Think about it. If one person violate the law, he goes to jail. Now they are saying 15 millions violate the law, we should change the law and make it legal. How about let's legalize the hit and run, or drunk and drive, since there are some many violations. This is what I call extremist. The amnisty is what the left wants, and it is "illegal" and a non-starter. And who said we cannot secure the border. How about building a wired fence with high voltage? Don't we use it to guard many facilities that is far less important than the border? That should be easy. Look, for those who doesn't want to build a secure border, how about open your door at night and every night and see how well you can sleep.

Posted by: indi2 | July 1, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Gee Edward, poor Obama can't get a break, can he? He wants to change our laws, instead of enforce them. It's just so unfair!

Posted by: allamer1 | July 1, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Gee Edward, poor Obama can't get a break, can he? He wants to change our laws, instead of enforce them. It's just so unfair!

Posted by: allamer1 | July 1, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

People are angry for good reasons. It is like living in a house without a door. And even the president of Mexico is blaming the US for the problem. And this administration is apologetic! That is outrages. Essentially, the Mexican president is saying that blame yourself for living in such a nice house, no wonder many of my people wants to break in. And BTW you cannot install a door, that is un-American!!! That is racism. No wonder people are angry. The more the illegal (and the left extremists) protest about the AZ law, the more angry the American gets. 2 out of 3 people are for the tough measure. We simply want our door installed so that we feel secure. Is that too much to ask? If the government or the president cannot do it, then they are not doing their job.

Posted by: indi2 | July 1, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

In his American University speech, Obama said the borders had never been more secure. Napolitano thinks that illegal aliens aren't really illegals after all. In a TV speech, I heard Murdoch (Fox news)and Bloomberg (NY Mayor) say that aliens who come into the country will set up businesses and hire Americans. I just can't wait to see this at the border! In general, our leaders seem either dumb or delusional. Maybe not so truthful.

Posted by: drzimmern1 | July 1, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Keep wishing that water will flow up-hill. A tidal wave of angry voters is coming in November and incumbents from both parties will be swept out. Retire Jim Moran, retire them all!

Posted by: wrldtrvlr1982 | July 1, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

You can be sure Obama is cooking up some sort of AMNESTY scheme even though mass amnesty is a fraud and a proven failure.

If this girlie president had the guts to do it he could solve the illegal plague that is destroying America. There are 15,000,000 to 20,000,000 border jumping bandidos roaming America today, not 11,000,000. That goes way beyond immigration. It is amassive invasion of America of nation destroying proportion.

After November, Americans can start reclaiming America again. Arizona is leading the way.

Posted by: battleground51 | July 1, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

There is no tension between a nation of immigrants and a nation based on laws. For a person supposedly very intelligent, Obama should avoid creating a false dichotomy. For decades millions of immigrants followed the laws of this country, legally seeking admission.

As to the border being the most secure in twenty years, what is the criteria offered to support this statement? Fewer people are probably being briefly detained, deported since 2008, because there are a lot fewer jobs to attract them to this country.

Obama thinks he is always right and blames others for everything. He thinks he is above being partisan, that only Republicans are partisan.

Sound familiar? If not, here is a clue, think of the guy who recently won a presidential election with less than a plurality of the popular vote.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | July 1, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

pathetic covers obama and his actions.

Posted by: dagner49 | July 1, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Our industrial base has been outsourced to China VIA Nafta a deal made by Bubba Clinton.
The Clintons ruined our economy and Obama
is trying to keep us in the Slave World by protedting the illegal immigrants.
The working classes have been doublecrossed by the Leadership of the Democratic party.
The New York Times will not allow comments that discredit the Clinton Machine who is to blame for the loss of millions of jobs in this country.

Posted by: umt123 | July 1, 2010 9:46 PM | Report abuse

The immigration "debate" at the national level is as much political kabuki as the abortion "debate": lots of light with little heat. Expect presidents and congress people of both parties to continue to do nothing while lamenting or lauding, respectively, what the states do.

Posted by: jdizzle | July 1, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

I guess this article in correct in certain respects, Obama gives a good speech. The problem is, that's all he does. He can't govern. We don't need to fix the immigration problem, all we need is for the federal government to enforce the rules that are already on the books. In 1986 we passed reform, the problem is the government didn't follow through are their promises. They didn't secure the borders and haven't enforced employer rules. So, let's finish those two provisions and then see where we are. We can't deport 15 million people, but if they find being here inhospitable, most will deport themselves.

Posted by: termiteavenger | July 1, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

PBO's full of cr@p.

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | July 1, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Obama didn't do squat today.

He proves with each passing day that is simply isn't up to the job of president. I wish he and his wife and chilren long life and happiness, but the sooner he is voted from office, the sooner the economy recover, the sooner we can fix his health care debacle, the sooner we can have someone competent to clean up the mess he is spilling across this country the way the oil well is spewing into the Gulf.

Every time he speaks, he is basically saying "I'm an incompetent president".

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | July 1, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Here is reality:

1. There is NO WAY 10M+ people can be deported.

2. Most of those here illegally are too poor to pay "fines".

3. Employers should be provided with a way to verify "right to work"; i.e., a national id card with biometrics for us all to replace social security cards, driver's licenses, passports...all information should be encoded and updated on the card itself

4. Seal the borders first, offer the cards to all undocumented workers, give them provisional citizenship, and deport immediately if ANY crime is committed or any gang membership uncovered, including driving w/o a license, insurance, not filing/paying taxes, etc

5. Offer a Medicaid-like health care with cost based on income so keep uninsured out of emergency rooms

THIS IS CHANGE I CAN BELIEVE IN!! Practical solutions, not political rhetoric

5.

Posted by: BarbarainPalmSprings | July 1, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse

A fundamental problem that exists with our Federal level of government is the assumption by certain entities that it has to do all the enforcing rather than sharing the responsibility with the border states. This viewpoint exemplifies a tremendous flaw that pervades our entire system. It is emblematic with housing, finance, health insurance and national security. The founders envisioned a process of federalism that fostered sharing; not a heavy-handed central government that dictated and controlled all aspects of our lives. The mass media has contributed to this corrupt view that pits one level of government against another instead of emphasizing how our governments could work efficiently and effectively together for all of us.

Posted by: shangps | July 1, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

If we don't reduce immigration and enforce our laws we can never reduce our carbon foot print or reduce the size of our government. We have had seven amnesties since the "first and final" one. Enough, just enforce our laws for a change! I'm a Democrat because I'm for protecting the environment and the U.S. worker. Mass-immigration is very bad for both. Remember we're not talking about 12 million immigrants, we're talking about 200 million over the next 50 years. Go to Numbers USA dot com and help stop the next amnesty.

Posted by: colowww | July 1, 2010 10:35 PM | Report abuse

We need a serious military presence on that border. The southwest US is being ethnicly cleansed by these mexican vermin. In one town in CA, some mexican genocidal gang bangers drove a bunch of black people out of their homes, just like in the 1990's Balkans. Mexico is literally a genocidal menace and we will not stand up to them because they are so pathetically weak.

Posted by: jm125 | July 1, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

This thing is very simple. Both parties want Latino votes and amnesty would make them happy and would buy their votes. Latino voted for Obama and want him to deliver amnesty. To the Latino, the so call "reform" MUST include an amnesty and they are fully against securing the border or any enforcement measure to deal with the problem. And our corrupted politician is letting them. Three cheers to the AZ law!

Posted by: indi2 | July 1, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

(Please Note: below is is not an argument of immigrants vs residents/citizens, but rather about legal immigrants vs illegal immigrants.)

Why is it that whenever there is talk about immigration reforms, it is illegal immigrants who takes the limelight.

What about legal immigrants?

-Those who pay all taxes, conform to law, all rules & regulations.

-Those who pays social security taxes, without even knowing whether they will ever be able to benefit from any social security

-Those who have to spendtime, money & resources in filling endless number of documents, so that they conform to all rules & regulations.

-Those who are highly highly qualified, adding lot of value to the operations of their employers but still have to live under the fear that any out of employement scenario will be the end of their effort to immigrate.

-Those who gets in the loop of accepting employment at salaries less than what they deserve so that they can apply for immigration, but this often goes on for years and USCIS or any other agency provides no information on when they can complete their immigration process so that they can plan their career and lives, they are always in limbo with their bags pack as soon as economy shows some sign of weakening.

Considering the pre-occupation of administration & lawmakers with illegal immigrants, I guess the message they are sending is that if you want to immigrate to this country cross over illegally and then you can also plan your life better. You wouldn't have to spend time & resources in filing all documentation. You wouldn't have to pay taxes. And in all likelihood the lawmakers will provide you much more easier path to citizenship in the near future.

Posted by: sanson1 | July 1, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

"...whether we will have the courage and the political will to pass a bill"... what a joker. There he stands like some great statesman, and then fails at the very thing he demands of others: courage and political will. Too weak and afraid, always ready to blame and score political points, he refuses to put out anything substantive. Again, it's all talk. That's all he knows how to do. Then he leaves it up to congress to concoct a bill, keeping his hands clean of the mess and ready to blame those who dare to criticize. This Great Leader is a sham. Too bad the Post and its Obama-Zombie reporters keep propping up this fakery.

Posted by: jpfann | July 1, 2010 11:21 PM | Report abuse

There is one thing in this debate I really don't understand. If a legal immigrant breaks the law they can be deported and will lose the right to become a U.S. citizen forever. WHY are we still talking about a 'path to citizenship' for illegal aliens? The unlawful border crossing I could forgive. I'm no lawyer but wouldn't that be just a misdemeanor with a fine attached? But U.S. citizenship is a wonderful privilege that we take all too much for granted. By what mental gymnastics can anyone justify extending it to immigrants who have broken our law?

Posted by: polijunkie100 | July 1, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Obama didn't say all of the right things. In fact, he said some very, very wrong things. For example, his claim that the Arizona law is unenforceable is absurd, and it's not a president's place to make any such comment.

For one, the Arizona law mimics the federal law. If Arizona's law is, in Obama's opinion, unenforceable, then what of federal law? Is that also unenforceable? And by "unenforceable," doesn't Obama really just mean that he is not willing to enforce it? The law, after all, is set by Congress and by state legislatures. The president doesn't decide what the law should be, and he doesn't pick and choose which ones to enforce. Immigration law is on the books, so enforce it! It doesn't matter if the president does not like the law. He took an oath to enforce it, so do it!

Second, the claim that Arizona's law is an undue burden on local law enforcement is just plain silly. Since when is that Obama's decision or judgment to make? Many local law enforcement officials in border communities are already stuck with undue burdens because the federal government refuses to do anything serious about immigration. They catch illegals, and the federal government turns around and lets them go. Talk about an undue burden! Ultimately, though, it's for state legislatures and voters to direct local law enforcement how to spend their time, and voters plainly have done so. Obama needs to butt out and let the state of Arizona enforce its own laws.

Even among Hispanics in America, 50% support Arizona's law, and across America more broadly support reaches 70%. Obama is pandering to a political minority in this matter, while ignoring the will of the majority, and he is doing so for cynical political gain, with the hope that illegals, if given amnesty, will turn into voters who carry the Democrats forward for the next 20 years. That's all that this immigration issue is really about. For Obama and Democrats, it's nothing more than a body-stacking exercise at the voting booth.

Posted by: blert | July 2, 2010 12:03 AM | Report abuse

What he really could not say was this but, I will. AZ. and boder states moaning and groaning but, let us go way back to another time in History shall we? Remember the Mexican-American War? And remember when "White Men" marched and took what they wanted and claimed it without regard to Indians or Mexicans? Remember? So, Americans crossed over to Mexico and those states they now claim were not ours at first. Men and Women were massacred and land taken without regard to life but, that was not immigration or cartel then.
So, now the Mexican people run from lawlessness to what they consider safe and a chance for life only to find doors slammed in their faces-isn't that something? The Indians were put on Reservations considered worthless land but, now it is found that that land is most valuable. And, the Mexicans had this land but, now they are not welcomed to cross-what a "B"?? And Ms. Blondy thinks she is all that? Not! Obama is blame for not setting Immigration Reform early in office-but, that is the setup by GOP. They need that Latino and Latina vote. But, if they think the GOP is going to help them-they better remember the past and that Blonde Republican holding them back??? So goes the wild, wild West???

Posted by: Scar1 | July 2, 2010 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Be glad some of you were not deported when not only crossing borders but, invading, taking or stealing and what belongs to the Indians, Blacks and Mexicans. It really slaps some in the face but, what goes around comes around. Now scream foul play when, some just reaping what was sown.

Posted by: Scar1 | July 2, 2010 2:43 AM | Report abuse

I thought America was the "Land of the Free". When I was young, I remember an image of America telling the world, "Come here if you yearn to be free." Now I find it was a lie.

America does not offer freedom, it doesn't even know what freedom is. America is an exclusive club. No entry without membership card, please wait in line.

I could teach many Americans about freedom, but most are unable to hear.

Freedom is like being with Jesus when he gave his sermons. Everybody was welcomed, everybody was cared for, all judgment was suspended. Blessed indeed are those with ears to hear.

Posted by: Amminadab | July 2, 2010 3:27 AM | Report abuse

'Repeated polls show that a solid majority support both the earned pathway to legalization and the Arizona law.'

Ridiculous! The 'polls' that show that offered 2 choices: Hunt down & deport OR a path to legalization. The polls that offered the 2 choices above plus attrition through enforcement show that only a minority favor legalization. Obama knows this as do the politicians of both parties.

What the Obama and Bush admins offer has been amnesty now with enforcement somewhere down the line MAYBE. In short, the same dirty deal the American people got in 1986. If you make a deal with some entity, uphold your end of it at a cost to you, and then have the other side not uphold its end of the deal, do you do similar business with them again? Not if you are smart. You cannot trust them. That, unfortunately, is where we are with the federal government today - we cannot trust it to keep its work on enforcement. The author of this absurd column is the same one that urged us to 'trust the government' in another column recently.

See my op-ed below regarding identity theft and how to stop it:

http://www.roanoke.com/editorials/commentary/wb/252250

Posted by: dflinchum | July 2, 2010 7:23 AM | Report abuse

Immigration has always been a big part of America's story, but in the past (pre twenty first century), most immigrants were just like most Americans, re their skills and education. The percentage of high school, let alone college graduates, was tiny. It was tough on the immigrants, needing to learn new customs, language and laws, but at least they had a chance to compete economically and had a fair chance at getting ahead. Unfortunately, for most of the illegal undocumented ?) immigrants today, they enter the United States in the same place as our own most economically disadvantaged, the dropouts and chronically poor, but with the additional disadvantages of the earlier immigrants. Is it any wonder that they end up being exploited and preyed upon? I wonder how the elites in this country would feel about an immigration policy that resulted in huge influxes of lawyers, doctors, journalists and other professionals who were willing to work for low blue collar wages? The same thing has happened to many white collar workers, the difference being that the jobs have been sent overseas for the cheap labor, rather than the country flooded with newcomers willing to work at indentured rates. A country that produces as many home grown disadvantaged (school dropouts, socially dysfunctional) can hardly afford to import more of the same, can it? Yes, they come here to improve their lives, but so what, many of our own disadvantaged want to improve their lives, or would like to have those things that the 'advantaged' have or have access to, but they have no realistic chance of obtaining them, due either to their circumstances or the poor choices they have already made which will preclude any future accomplishment. No answers here, just questions.

Posted by: MikeMcLamara | July 2, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Obama: Bring it on. You will get your Dumbo ears pinned back.

The nation is in no mood to consider inviting millions of illegal lawbreaking aliens to become US citizens.

Instead you need to follow the law and secure the borders of the US and get rid of the captured w*tb**ks.

We have enough to deal with now, problems caused by you.

Posted by: mlemac | July 2, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Although Obama's hands are tied, he must challenge Arizona's new law. He can't hand over the responsibilities of the federal government to local government and he must uphold the Constitution for all Americans. To this extent, he may be in a situation similar to Eisenhower and Kennedy when they had to uphold the Constitution and uphold the rights of all Americans, but especially those who may suffer discrimination. The easy way would be to do nothing and even say nothing. At least he's speaking up and he may actually assert his authority and responsibility as the Present of all the people of the United States.

Posted by: gary16 | July 2, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

After a perusal of the article and the comments received thereunder, one gets the feeling that the 'manifest destiny' prophecy is still at work and the borders of the United States of America would continue to expand, particularly southwards, as the present trend seems to indicate. May be it is time that the U.S.A.really became a multi-lingual country where the 'White Anglo-Saxon Protestants' have to struggle to survive.

Posted by: mayuramvsankaran | July 2, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Another speech to say everything and nothing. To appease all but satisfy no one. To state the obvious to people in the real world as if its the first time they heard it.

Yes its hard to get consensus and agreement, but its even harder if one suggests nothing.

Neither Bush nor Obama understood the heart of the issue with most Americans. Everybody wants to play politics, play to the bases, win the Hispanic vote, etc. but nobody addresses the issue.

The real issue for the average American is just common sense- I am a citizen, I work, I pay taxes, I follow the law, I play by the rules and my relatives came here legally. I expect the same rules and laws apply to all.

We were a nation of laws and if the law needed to be changed we changed it.
We are now a nation of vagueness, perception, and interpretation. Obama adds to that vagueness, and what worse, he is not only vague but polarizing.

Posted by: flyover22 | July 2, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Plain old political grandstanding. Obama met with the Hispanic caucus. This already sets racial overtones since most illegals are Latino. He's out to keep Latino votes and gina more of them. One argument is they are hard workers. Well so are tens of millions of people in Africa, China, Indai etc. Big difference is they can't walk across the border. They are required to do ti legally. We make exceptions for Latinos , especially Mexicans. Pure racial profiling and political manuvering. Must treat all the same. However, the Hispanic caucus will not go for making all immigrants enter legally. Politicians fail to hear the voices of the majority of Americans. Their duty and responsibility is to ALL Amercian citizens. Not a Hispanic faction nor for any other foreign citizen. Politicans are failing miserably by not listening to the American public. They are looking out for their political careers at the expense of the American taxpayer.

Posted by: baz987 | July 2, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

What ever became of the "Yes we can" President? Answer: He became the "No we can't" President when it comes to securing our southern border. The Obama administration is ignoring the law of the land, and the will of America's true citizens with respect to the millions of illegal aliens who have infiltrated our country. Mr. President, "politics" is not the problem with the immigration crisis. Your stubborness to refuse to accept the will of the majority of bonafide American citizens when they say, "No comprehensive immigration legislation until such time as our borders are secure and the illegals are gone." is the problem. Come November you fools will feel the wrath of true Americans.

Posted by: biteoh | July 2, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

What ever became of the "Yes we can" President? Answer: He became the "No we can't" President when it comes to securing our southern border. The Obama administration is ignoring the law of the land, and the will of America's true citizens with respect to the millions of illegal aliens who have infiltrated our country. Mr. President, "politics" is not the problem with the immigration crisis. Your stubborness to refuse to accept the will of the majority of bonafide American citizens when they say, "No comprehensive immigration legislation until such time as our borders are secure and the illegals are gone." is the problem. Come November you fools will feel the wrath of true Americans.

Posted by: biteoh | July 2, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Anyone law abiding person who has established a life here should not be uprooted and kicked out. For years, there was a big welcome sign at the border and in the workplace. Most Mexicans are decent, hard working people who are quite willing to assimilate into and contribute to this country. That being said, we need a proper fence to control that border, for many obvious reasons. Anyone serious about controlling a border puts a good fence there and this why Washington/CorporateAmerika is completely against it. Bush wouldn't do it and this hand-puppet Obama certainly won't.

Posted by: independent123 | July 2, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

DUMP OBAMA! CLINTON IN 2012! IT'S THE ONLY WAY WE DEMOCRATS CAN RETAIN POWER! OBAMA IS POISON TO THE PARTY!!!

Posted by: georges2 | July 2, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

The solution to our illegal immigration problem is really very simple - but no one seems to have figured it out. I am a Subject Matter Expert on illegal immigration who has worked in the three government agencies directly involved in illegal immigration - the Coast Guard, CBP, and ICE.

First, continue and complete the process of gaining control of our borders. Aside from the reason of terrorists being able to walk into the country unnoticed, the main reason for this is to stem the flow - the supply. It will close the remaining "clear" routes used by those who charge illegals a lot of money to smuggle them into the country.
These same people drop and run when CBP shows up, or when they think CBP is on the way. Many women, children, and elderly illegals have died trying to get into the country because of these despicable people.

Also, it will close the remaining routes Mexican cartels use to smuggle drugs into the country, and weapons and money out of the country. The violence in Mexico is happening as a direct result of the now stopped border fence initiative. They are fighting over the remaining "clear" routes, many of which flow through Arizona. See a connection here?

Second, create a guest worker program wherein people from other countries who want to work here can apply, provide documentation, and work here. Don't give me that cr@p about not having to provide documentation; even the immigrants from Europe had to go through Ellis Island to enter the country.

They will pay taxes, be able to obtain temporary drivers licenses (after passing the test we all take) and obtain medical coverage and care through their employers. It will put an end to the near servitude conditions these illegals have to endure to work in this country - back breaking work for poor pay, no benefits, and no recourse if they become sick or injured. If this is not done, then we are effectively condoning slavery (again).

Lastly, fix the E-Verify system employers have to use to document their workers. This will stem the demand. It will prevent all those companies out there who hire illegals for pennies on the dollar and pocket the cash. It will hold the employers accountable, vice the employees (illegals) themselves. After all, the employers only want money and the illegals only want to earn money to support themselves and their families elsewhere.

Posted by: cgteddy911 | July 2, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Just a few thoughts and suggestions. First of all, the borders (southern, northern, ports of entry, overstayed visa's, etc) have to, and can be secured. Every country has the the right to, and must control who enters the country or it will eventually cease to be a country. We are not (and I don't want to, either) going to deport 15 to 20 million people who have been here over a long period of time and been good and productive contributor's to our country.
Here are a few idea's that might work. As in the previous amnesty bill, recent illegals (lets say Jan '08 to present) will have to return to their country of origin and apply the legal way. For the rest of the illegals, if you have been a serial lawbreaker, felon, ended up in state prison for whatever reason, etc, your deported ASAP. That will get rid of 25% of them. For the remaining illegals, there will be a path to permanent residency (i.e. Green Card), not citizenship. To put it bluntly, you won't be able to vote. You will have all the rights that legal greencard holders have, but you will not be able to become full citizens. If voting is important to you, then you will have to return to your country of origin and enter the legal way. I have lived in SoCal for 60yrs and know hundreds, if not thousand or two, immigrants (both legal and illegal) and haven't heard any of them say they care if they vote or not. They came here for the opportunity to improve the lives of themselves and their families. Whether they vote or not, is the least of their concerns. Then, of course, from now on, we will enforce the immigration laws as strictly as possible, so be don't end up in this mess again in 20 yrs. I know this isn't a perfect, and I would be interested in what other people think.

Posted by: khscottfighton | July 2, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

You don't have to build a "Berlin Wall" to secure our borders. Make every employer, welfare office, school and hospital sign on to EVerify. Cut off jobs and welfare and they will deport themselves. AZ is seeing Illegal families move (mostly to other states) because of our new law. If the Federal government would enforce the present laws, it would go a long way toward fixing our illegal problem.

Streamline the process for legal immigrants to come, those that we need like educated, hard working people that could actually help our economy. Leave the burger flipping jobs to our teens so they can learn what it is to earn a paycheck.

Posted by: tucsoncaller | July 2, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

DUMP OBAMA! CLINTON IN 2010!

Posted by: georges2 | July 2, 2010 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps a compromise would be to give illegals who have been in the country for several years (at least 5) a path to legalisation but NOT citizenship?? It isn't fair to the millions of legal immigrants who work so hard for the possibility of becoming a citizen (as anyone on a work permit can attest, it's not guarantee) to give illegals what will amount to a guaranteed 'path to citizenship'.

Let's also not forget that we tried this back in 1986 -- if the amnesty+enforcement approach worked, we wouldn't be having this conversation today.

Posted by: post_reader1 | July 3, 2010 4:49 AM | Report abuse

Put the truth about that "path to legalization" in your polls for once and see how you make out.

Just ask this question:

Do you support AMNESTY and easy American citizenship for the 20,000,000 illegal aliens that have broken every American, immigration law for the past 25 years??

I'll bet you will not get the results you want with this one.

Posted by: battleground51 | July 3, 2010 7:50 AM | Report abuse

MAP: USA Rule of Law and Sanctuary Cities
URL: http://bit.ly/cPYVZk

Vote for Chelene Nightingale for California Governor 2010
http://www.nightingaleforgovernor.com

Posted by: borderraven | July 3, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Maybe Obama should take advice from Gov. Arnold Schwartzenegger of California. Let's give everything away to the non-citizens, so the citizens can then be paid minimum wages to make up for it. Sounds like a deal!

Posted by: barrysal | July 3, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

"President Obama said all the right things in his speech on reforming immigration today -- except one: that he was going to do anything."

"He didn’t announce a new comprehensive reform bill. He didn’t pledge action on the limited bills already in Congress covering students or agricultural workers."

he's a politician, not a leader. What did you expect? just vote him out as soon as possible.

Posted by: JBfromFL | July 3, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

He's all words and no substance."Won't raise 1 single tax" = raised taxes. "Won't loose your doctor"= my doctor won't take medicare anymore. "The stimulus worked" = companies closing.
"Words are powerful, and Obama’s words today keep rationality" This man is so irrational that his words don't mean any truth at all.

Posted by: jaclk | July 3, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

What Obama didn't -- and couldn't -- say on immigration.

What he didn't a and could not say is that he wants all illegals amnestied so he can get their votes after the payoff, and to the illegals he can't say that as soon as they are amnestied he'll expect them to start paying taxes to pull him out of the fiscal hole he has created in the economy.

Posted by: jonweiss1 | July 3, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Hope!? The art of BSing is saying alot without saying anything and getting people to buy it. Sounds like someone bought it.
Reform what? What is legal and what is illegal?

Get a grip. BS is hopeless.

thussaithme.blogspot.com

Posted by: ptvoice | July 4, 2010 12:28 AM | Report abuse

"...enforcement by itself is insufficient, impractical and un-American"

What a crock of crap. Enforcing the laws of the land are un-American???

Kick the illegals OUT. OUT means OUT. I don't care if a bunch of Mexican ethnic nationalists think it's "impractical" or not.

It would be "insufficient" not to make every effort to give American jobs back to Americans. There are not 11 million agricultural jobs for illegals -- so clearly they are encroaching into other labor types. Groundskeeping and construction are a couple of obvious ones -- and Americans WILL do those jobs.

As a teenager, I well remember picking berries all summer as a means of income. There were a few Mexicans then, but most of us were kids together -- and it was hard work, sure, but fun in a group.

What do today's teens do, besides sit on their butts in front of the Xbox or work in fast food?

First, round up and deport the illegals, by any means necessary. Then (and only then) develop a guest worker program, and make transient laborers wear anklebands or something similar, so they can't overstay their welcome.

Pay a bounty for tips leading to the arrest of illegals and the employers who lure them. Levy harsh fines on companies who -- knowingly or not -- hire illegals. And come up with a straightforward national citizenship card system (like Canada's) to validate work status for ALL Americans.

It's not hard to do, if you first WANT to see it happen. Pretty clear where the Dem-NO-crats stand on that.

Posted by: jcline1 | July 4, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

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