Thursday, November 20, 2014
In a 10 minute speech this evening, November 20, 2014, President Obama did exactly what he said he would do 2 years ago, and that is to do something that the Congress failed to do, act on immigration. He will sign the Executive action tomorrow. As the president has mentioned the transcript of his speech will be attached to this post, the President gave Congress ample time to pass a bill. They didn't have to dream one up. One was previously presented to them. The U.S. Senate has previously passed a bi-partisan immigration bill and passed it along to the House, but Congressional leaders in the House, under the leadership of John Boehner, has decided not to even let the bill reach the House floor for a vote.
This evening, the President in a bold action made the announcement about immigration from the East Room of the White House. He even expanded his speech talking about the scripture of man. His speech was that of a two part speech. He did get extremely specific on what the deal is, and about politics, about members of Congress that question his authority to make the immigration system work better, or to question his wisdom when in fact the Congress has again failed to act. The actions by the President are no means the stated law in this country, as only Congress can pass laws that all must adhere to, but as the President says, all they (Congress) has to do is "pass a bill" and their law would become the law of the land.
In similar fashion in the past, the President championed 'ObamaCare', a health plan that now benefits millions of Americans, but the Republican caucus is totally against Obamacare, and they want to dismantle it, at the expense of millions of Americans that now depend on it. The Republicans actually don't care on who they hurt, but they in their own greedy wisdom, have decided against the will of the people that 'ObamaCare' is bad for the country. But if it were that bad, they would have a plan of their own, but of course, just like their plans for immigration, they have no plan.
The President realized that the Republican caucus had no plans to ever pass an immigration bill that would benefit millions of undocumented workers who are actually born citizens of this country, and their family in hiding because of the fear of being deported.
Unlike my strong belief on what the President is doing is right, there will be a vast number of Americans that believe that the President is not doing right. Starting off with the Republican caucus, lead by the tea party, will now attempt to do whatever they can to limit Obama's powers, and will either try to impeach him, or sue him for abusing his power. Let's be clear, the President did not abuse his power. He was very specific on what he was doing. He did not grant amnesty to the population of undocumented people who have been in this country for years. Several Presidents before Obama has also passed some form of immigration bill, to include Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Even though Republicans did not accept President Bush's bill on immigration, as it failed in Congress and never became law, you might wonder why that President as did every President for the last 50 years, introduce legislation to address immigration. Still, there were never threats against the Republican Presidents for doing the same kind of thing concerning undocumented people in this country as there are now against President Obama, who is not dictating law, but exercising his right as President of the United States, in matters that he has total legality in.
This blog for the most part has been very liberal in nature, but there are several people whom I know that disagree with my ideas. One such person, a friend at work, has decided that I may not know enough about history to be able to form my opinions on the Government, so I have invited him to contribute to this blog and write some articles so that I may see his side of the story. The fact may be that I may not know as much about history as he may know, but what gives him the right to state that because he thinks I don't know enough about history? He thinks that I may be too ignorant regarding the issues that we face in politics today, and I am here to challenge him to the task.
I invite him and others to refute my articles as they see fit, and their writing will be published as they are provided. The articles will be published in their original form, but I as the author of this blog have the right to refute anything that they say. I encourage others to do the same. If interested in contributing to this blog, all you have to do is contact me via email@example.com, send an article that you desire to be published, and your words will be read by thousands of other readers of this blog. The articles must be well thought out, written in good English, and the author of the article must be able to accept criticism from me.
Back on topic, the President no doubt has made his life a little more difficult when it comes with communicating with the Congress and getting things done, but likewise, the Republican led Congress needs to realize that they must get their billed passed through in the Executive branch of government, or everything that they produce as far as bills are concerned will be a total waste of time, as they will just be veto'd by the President. The only way to eliminate a Presidential veto is to get the Senate to get a two thirds total Senate vote in favor of the bill for the President not to have veto power.
Not withholding the speech that President Obama gave this evening concerning immigration,
THE FOLLOWING IS THE TRANSCRIPT OF PRESIDENT OBAMA'S SPEECH IN ITS ENTIRETY.
My fellow Americans,
Tonight I'd like to talk with you about immigration. For more than 200 years, our tradition of welcoming immigrants from around the world has given us a tremendous advantage over other nations. It's kept us youthful, dynamic, and entrepreneurial. It has shaped our character as a people with limitless possibilities, people not trapped by our past, but able to remake ourselves as we choose. But today, our immigration system is broken, and everybody knows it. Families who enter our country the right way and played by the rules watch others flout the rules. Business owners who offer their workers good wages and benefits see the competition exploit undocumented immigrants by paying them far less. All of us take offense to anyone who reaps the rewards of living in America without taking on the responsibilities of living in America. Undocumented immigrants who desperately want to embrace those responsibilities, see little option but remain in the shadows, or risk their families be torn apart. It's been this way for decades, and for decades we haven't done much about it.
When I took office, I committed to fixing this broken immigration system, and I began to do what I could to secure our borders. Today we have more agents and technology to secure the southern border than anytime in our history, and over the past six years, illegal border crossings have been cut by more than half, although this summer, there was a brief spike in unaccompanied children being apprehended at our border. The number of such children is actually lower in nearly two years. Overall, the number of people trying to cross our border illegally is at its lowest level since the 1970's. Those are the facts. Meanwhile I worked with Congress on a comprehensive fix, and last year 68 Democrats, Republicans and Independents, came together to pass a bi-partisan bill in the Senate. It wasn't perfect. It was a compromise. But it reflected common sense. It would have doubled the number of border control agents, while giving undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship, if they paid a fine, started paying their taxes, and went to the back of the line. Independent experts said that it would help grow our economy, and shrink our deficit, had the House of Representatives allowed that kind of bill a simple yes or no vote, it would have passed with support from both parties, and today it would be the law. But for a year and a half now, Republican leaders in the House have refused to allow that simple vote. Now, I continue to believe that the best way to solve this problem is by working together to pass that kind of comman sense law. But until that happens, there are actions I have the legal authority to take as President, the same kinds of actions taken by Democratic and Republican presidents before me. They will help make our our immigration system more fair and more just.
Tonight I'm announcing those actions. First, we'll build on our progress at the border with additional resources for our law enforcement personnel, so that they can stem the flow if illegal crossings and speed the return of those who do cross over. Second, I'll make it easier and faster for high skilled immigrants, graduates and entrepreneurs to stay and contribute to our economy, as so many business leaders had proposed. Third, we will take steps to deal responsibility with the millions of undocumented immigrants who already live in our country. I want to say more about this third issue because it generates the most passion and controversy. Even as we are a nation of immigrants, we are also a nation of laws. Undocumented workers broke our immigration laws, and I believe that they must be held accountable, especially those who may be dangerous. That's why over the past 6 years, deportations of criminals are up 80%, and that's why we are going to keep focusing enforcement resources on actual threats to our security. Felons, not families. Criminals, not children, gang members, not a mom that is working hard to provide for her kids. We'll prioritize, just like law enforcement does every day. But even as we focus on deporting criminals, the fact is that millions of immigrants in every state, in every race and nationality still live here illegally. And let's be honest. Tracking down, rounding up and deporting millions of people isn't realistic. Anyone who suggests otherwise isn't being straight with you. It's also not who we are as Americans. After all most of these immigrants have been here a long time. They work hard, often in tough, low paying jobs. They support their families. They worship at our churches. Many of their kids are American born and spent most of their lives here, and their hopes, dreams and patriotism are just like ours. As my predecessor, President Bush once put it, they are a part of American life. Now here's the thing. We expect people who live in this country to play by the rules. We expect that those who cut the line will not be unfairly rewarded. So we are offering the following deal. If you been in America for more than 5 years, if you have children who are American citizens or legal residents, if you registered, pass a criminal background check and you are willing to pay your fair share of taxes, your will be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily without fear of deportation. You can come out of the shadows and get right wih the law. That's what this deal is. Now let's be clear about what it isn't. This deal does not apply to anyone who has come to this country recently. It does not apply to anyone who might come to America illegally in the future. It does not grant citizenship or the right to stay here permanently or offer the same benefits that citizen receive. Only Congress can do that. All we're saying is, we are not going to deport you.
I know some of the critics of this action call this amnesty. Well, it's not. Amnesty is the immigration system that we have today. Millions of people who live here without paying their taxes or playing by the rules, while politicians use the issue to scare people and whip up votes at election time. That's the real amnesty, leaving this broken system the way that it is. Mass amnesty would be unfair. Mass deportation would be both impossible and contrary to our character. What I'd describing is accountability, a common sense middle ground approach. If you meet the criterea, you can come out of the shadows and get right with the law. If you are a criminal, you will be deported. If you plan to enter the U.S. illegally, your chances of getting caught and sent back just went up. The actions I'm taking are not only lawful, they are the kinds of actions taken by every single Republican President and every single Democratic President for the past half century. To those members of Congress that question my authority to make our immigration system work better, or questioning the wisdom of me acting while Congress has failed, I have one answer. PASS A BILL. I want to work with both parties to pass a more permanent legislative solution, and the day that I sign that bill into law, the actions I take will no longer be necessary. Meanwhile, don't let a disagreement over a single be a deal breaker on every issue. That is not how our democracy works, an Congress surely shouldn't shut down our government again just because we disagree on this. Americans are tired of gridlock. What our country needs from us right now is a common purpose, a higher purpose. Most Americans support the types of reforms I talked about tonight. But I understand the disagreements held by many of you at home. Millions of us, myself included go back generations in this country with ancestors who put in the painstaking work to become citizens. So we don't like the notion that anyone might get a free pass to American citizenship. I know some worried immigration will change the fabric of who we are, or take our jobs, or stick it to middle class families in a time where they already feel that the have gotten the wrong deal for over a decade. I hear those concerns. But that's not what these steps would do. Our history and the facts show that immigrants are a net plus for our economy and our society. I believe that it's important that all of us have this debate with not impugning each others character. Because for all of the back and forth from Washington, we have to remember that this debate is about something bigger. It's about who we are as a country and who we want to be for future generations. Are we a nation who tolerates the hippocracy of a system where workers who pick our fruit and make our beds, never have a chance to get right with the law? Or, are we a nation that gives them a chance to make amends, take responsibility and give their kids a better future. Are we a nation that accepts the cruelty of ripping their children from their parents arms or are we a nation that values families, and works together to keep them together? Are we a nation that educates the worlds best and brightest at Universities, only to send them home to create businesses in countries that compete against us? Or, are we a nation that encourages them to stay and create jobs here, create businesses here, create industries right here in America. That's what this debate is all about. We need more than politics as usual when it comes to immigration. We need reasoned, thoughtful, compassionate debate that focuses on our hopes, not our fears. I know the politics of this issue are tough. But let me tell you why I've come to feel so strongly about it.
Over the past years, I've seen the determination of immigrant fathers who worked two or three jobs without taking a dime from the government and at risk at any moment of loosing it all, just to build a better life for their kids. I've seen the heartbreak and the anxiety of children of whose mothers might be taken away from them, just because they didn't have the right papers. I've seen the courage of students who except for the circumstances of their birth, are as American as Milia or Sausha, students who bravely come out as undocumented in hopes that they can make a difference in the country they love. These people are neighbors, our classmates, our friends. They did not come here in search of a free ride or an easy life. They came to work, and study and serve in our military, and above all, contribute to America's success.
Now tomorrow, I'll travel to Las Vegas, and meet with some of these students, including a young woman named Astrid Silva. Astrid was brought to America when she was four years old. Her only possessions were a cross, her doll and the furley dress she had on. When she started school, she didn't speak any English. She caught up to other kids by reading newspapers watching PBS, and she became a good student. Her father worked in landscaping. Her mom cleaned other peoples homes. They wouldn't let Astra to apply to a technology magnet school, not because they didn't love her, but they were afraid the paperwork would out her as an undocumented immigrant. So she applied behind their back and got in. Still, she mostly lived in the shadows, until her grandmother who visited every year from Mexico, passed away. And she couldn't travel to the funeral without risk of being found out and deported. It was around that time that she decided in advocating for herself and others like her and today, Astrid Silva is a college student working on her third degree. Are we a nation that kicks out a striving hopeful immigrant like Astra?Or, are we a nation that finds a way to welcome her in.
Scripture tells us that we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger. We were strangers once too. My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once too. And whether our fore-bearers or strangers that crossed the Atlantic or the Pacific or the Rio Grande, we are here only because the country welcomed them in, and taught them to be an American is about something more that what we look like, or what our last names are or how we worship. What makes us Americans is our shared commitment to an ideal, that all of us are created equal, and all of us have the chance to make of our lives of what we will. That's the country our parents and grandparents and generations before them built for us. That's the tradition we must uphold. That's he legacy that we must leave for those yet to come.
Thank you. God bless you, and God bless this country we love.