I will admit that I did not watch the President’s State of the Union address in its entirety yesterday, but I did catch bits and pieces of it. Overall, I thought it was a decent message and heavy on domestic policy. Of course, I realize that so much is in play in setting the President’s agenda. However, I do want to note two parts that are of concern to many Latinos.
This part was when President Obama was addressing education:
“One last point about education. Today, there are hundreds of thousands of students excelling in our schools who are not American citizens. Some are the children of undocumented workers, who had nothing to do with the actions of their parents. They grew up as Americans and pledge allegiance to our flag, and yet live every day with the threat of deportation. Others come here from abroad to study in our colleges and universities. But as soon as they obtain advanced degrees, we send them back home to compete against us. It makes no sense.
Now, I strongly believe that we should take on, once and for all, the issue of illegal immigration. I am prepared to work with Republicans and Democrats to protect our borders, enforce our laws and address the millions of undocumented workers who are now living in the shadows. I know that debate will be difficult and take time. But tonight, let’s agree to make that effort. And let’s stop expelling talented, responsible young people who can staff our research labs, start new businesses, and further enrich this nation.”
Obviously, this is in reference to the DREAM Act. It’s good that the President it keeping this on his radar, but I don’t see DREAM passing any time soon, especially with the new Republican Congress. I think that Obama is setting up the immigrant, and by extension larger Latino, community up for more political theater with this issue, unless of course, he does something to ease the deportation situation especially for DREAM act eligible young adults. Notice how the President continues to stress border enforcement and “law and order” before mentioning any sort of relief.
And this part about upcoming foreign travel:
“This March, I will travel to Brazil, Chile, and El Salvador to forge new alliances for progress in the Americas. Around the globe, we are standing with those who take responsibility – helping farmers grow more food; supporting doctors who care for the sick; and combating the corruption that can rot a society and rob people of opportunity.”
Alliance for Progress was a Latin American foreign policy initiated by President Kennedy. I wonder if he plans something similar, but if how his administration handled the coup in Honduras back in 2009 is any indication, I wouldn’t hold my breath.
So what are your thoughts about the State of the Union? I realize that I did not listen as intently as I would have liked and these are just some quick reactions.