Obama’s Rhetoric is Fluff.


In the State of the Union address last night, Obama referred to Comprehensive Immigration Reform with the following bit:

“And we should continue the work of fixing our broken immigration system–to secure our borders, enforce our laws, and ensure that everyone who plays by the rules can contribute to our economy and enrich our nation”

This is all he had to say. It is frightfully lacking in substance, which makes me wonder if effective immigration reform will ever be passed.

Obama mentioned “securing our borders” and “enforce our laws” first. The border cannot be enforced as long as there are strong incentives for Latin Americans to cross into the  U.S. without authorization. If a wall is built, a ladder or tunnel will overcome it. Excuse the cliche, but when there is a will there is a way.

What Obama means by “enforce our laws” is too unclear to allow an in-depth analysis, although it appears it was said to appease those that don’t want “illegals” not paying for their audacious breaking of the law.

The most difficult obstacle in achieving an effective immigration reform is crafting a solution that adequately meets the demand for future immigration to the United States by, for the most part, unskilled laborers from Latin America. For example, the U.S. could implement a visa program that allowed for 1 million unskilled laborers per year. The problem is that there is no verifiable means to determine if that visa program will disincentive migrants coming here unauthorized.

Therefore, even if a legalization program along with a increase in the allowance of future legal immigrants is instituted, there is a good possibility that there will still be a sizable amount of new, undocumented individuals throughout the United States.  And, then, we may be back at the beginning, trying to figure out another way to fix another broken immigration system.

Of course, this daunting issue should not dissuade us from trying to do at least something. The current 12 million plus undocumented are not going anywhere soon, even if groups like ALIPAC so passionately declare that deportation of all “illegals” is not only possible, but a duty to be carried out by both the Federal and State governments.

Obama should stop talking with fluffy, meaningless words when it comes to Immigration Reform. The latter is a serious issue that will take concrete, well-thought out measures to achieve an effective solution for everyone concerned.


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