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Of note to Latinos in the State of the Union Address

January 26th, 2011 · 7 Comments

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.

Tags: Barack Obama · Education · Immigration · Latin American Foreign Policy

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 tony herrera // Jan 27, 2011 at 10:20 am

    Nothing in President Barack Obama’s State of The Union speech leads me to believe that he will make immigration reform a priority on his agenda. I’m of the opinion that Obama merely made mention of education and undocumented youth as a means towards appeasing Latino/Latina voters. His hope is that his party will be viewed as the party wanting to bring about immigration reform, while blaming Republicans for blocking such reforms. Sadly, the Republican party has also failed to introduce any reasonable immigration reform legislation outside of “enforcement by attrition” measures. Essentially measures that criminalize undocumented immigrants but do nothing to address the magnets (complicit employers) who go largely unpunished.

    The reality is that while Obama speaks a “pro-migrant” language, but his record is very much that of a Republican. Obama has deported more immigrants than former Pres. Bush. The Obama administration has thus far deported some 400,000 immigrants per year since taking office.

    I fear the anti-immigrant climate is going to get worse. Rest assured that as Presidential candidates begin to surface in advance of the US Presidential elections of 2012 immigration reform will become yet again a central issue, but the candidates will merely pass blame on each others party….in the meantime Latino/Latina immigrant communities will continue to suffer the consequences.

  • 2 irma // Jan 27, 2011 at 10:32 am

    I agree with Mr. Herrera. Obama is clearly worried that his inability to pass the Dream Act coupled with his administration’s zeal in deporting immigrants will impact the Latino vote in 2012.

    He should be worried – Latinos have been had and many of us will not support the Democrats
    in 2012. The Republicans never made any promises, the Democrats did. We wont vote
    Republican but we wont vote Democrat either.
    Lets see if the Democrats can re-elect Obama without us. I think not and then maybe the
    Democratic party will finally actually DO something about real immigration reform.

  • 3 Chicano future tense // Jan 29, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Heres some news from Utah I found quite intriguing..

    Utah Bill Looking to Create Work Permits for Undocumented

    http://www.hispanicallyspeakingnews

    With help from the conservative Sutherland Institute, Utah State Senator Luz Robles has begin work on a new bill that would offer the state’s undocumented immigration population the chance to legally work.

    Robles definitively states that the bill will in no way grant amnesty or a path to citizenship, but rather, it is a work program in which undocumented immigrants would be given permit cards to work legally providing their criminal background passes inspection, they pay taxes, and enroll in English and civics classes.

    The Sutherland Institute’s president, Paul Mero, says this bill will hold undocumented immigrants accountable with a conservative approach.

    “Immigration is a federal issue and we all recognize that, but the federal government has failed to take care of this issue and it has been an issue for at least decades,” said Robles. “The state have been working on reactionary and proactive solution and we believe this is a Utah solution.”

  • 4 Anna // Jan 31, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/home/51146324-76/morales-utah-immigration-dream.html.csp

    Obama is despicable:

    Stopped on his way to college, Utah teen faces deportation

    David Morales, a West Valley City teen, was 45 minutes away from college when the Greyhound bus he was riding, and his dreams for the future, both came to a sudden halt.

    Morales graduated from Granite Peaks High in South Salt Lake last spring with high grades and hopes. He wanted to become a Christian pastor and start Utah’s “biggest church.” He enrolled in a divinity school in Louisiana and packed his bags.

    But earlier this month, federal immigration officials who were stopping buses and vans for routine checks, asked passengers on Morales’ bus if they were U.S. citizens. Morales told them he wasn’t.

    “All the plans that I had, it just stopped,” Morales said.

    Morales was arrested and spent 17 days in jail before his family posted a $4,000 bond. He’s now back home in Utah, but as an undocumented immigrant, Morales faces deportation to Mexico, where he will have to wait a decade or more before he can return to the United States.

    He is awaiting a Feb. 23 court date in Louisiana. His attorney hopes to move the case to Utah.

    Morales, 19, came to Utah from Mexico when he was 9 years old, traveling with his parents who hoped to find work that could put meals on the table three times a day instead of just two.

    Supporters of the teen say his case highlights the need for immigration reforms such as the DREAM Act, which failed to pass Congress in December and would have given undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship through higher education or military service…

  • 5 Anna // Jan 31, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    http://www.salon.com/wires/us/2011/01/31/D9L3LCJ81_us_deportation_appeal/index.html

    Obama is despicable:

    Guatemalan father of US Marine deported

    By BRUCE SCHREINER, Associated Press

    The Guatemalan father of a U.S. Marine assigned to duty in Afghanistan was deported after being denied a last-ditch effort to plead his case to stay in this country.

    Juan Andres, 41, had fought deportation by presenting immigration officials with letters from friends, an employer, his wife and his five children, all of whom are U.S. citizens, including Lance Cpl. Aspar Andres.

    His Marine son also made a public plea while on leave, asking immigration officials to show leniency for his father…

  • 6 acohen // Feb 1, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    Actually, Obama HAS made immigration reform a priority. As soon as he was elected he dramatically increased the round up and deportation of undocumented immigrants. And, as he promised in his campaign, he attacked employers of the undocumented so that immigrants would (in Obama’s words) “go home” after he took their jobs away. Neither Obama nor the Democrats were ever serious about the DREAM Act. If they were, it would have passed.

  • 7 Anna // Feb 1, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    I agree. Both parties are now basically running on a platform of ethnic cleansing.

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