In a disappointing repeat of last year’s address, President Obama had very little to say on immigration, an issue that is central to the country’s future. President Obama boasted about putting more “boots on the border than ever before” while restating his support for the legalization of undocumented youth. His policies are tougher on immigration than any other president’s in history, yet he still claims to support change.
Then, he went on to scold Congress for not working on comprehensive immigration reform and offered an intermediate solution: “Let’s at least agree to stop expelling responsible young people.” Which begs the question: why is his administration still deporting immigrant youth?
In a few short sentences, the president displayed an unavoidable gap between his rhetoric and the reality of his actions on immigration. We know from the last three years that the president’s approach of criminalizing immigrants while suggesting their legalization, essentially trying to straddle two opposites, has failed. What we’re left with is a million deportations and a debate that has drifted further to the right. Over 11 million undocumented Americans-in-waiting find their lives hanging in a precarious balance, and last night’s speech did nothing to suggest a change from the worsening status quo.