President Obama, whether you support his views or you don’t, certainly isn’t afraid to let his thoughts be heard (even more so in his final term as President). In his most recent speech, he did just that, showing his true political views on the topic of immigration.
“This whole anti-immigrant sentiment that is out there in our politics right now, is contrary to who we are,” Obama stated. “Because unless you are a Native American, your family came from some place else. Although we are a nation of laws, we want people to follow the law, and we have been working and I’ve been pushing congress to make sure we have strong borders and we are keeping everyone moving through legal processes. Don’t pretend that somehow 100 years ago the immigration process was all smooth and strict. That’s not how it worked.”
This is quite a different view from some of the presidential candidates — both Democratic and Republican – biding for a nomination for the 2016 election. While some Republicans make it out as though Obama is all for an open immigration policy which allows anyone to come into this country, that isn’t really the case. Obama certainly holds a very liberal view when it comes to immigration though.
“There are a whole bunch of folks who came here from all over Europe, all throughout Asia, and all throughout Central America, and certainly who came from Africa,” Obama continued. “It wasn’t some orderly process, where all the rules applied and everything was strict and I came the ‘right way’. That’s not how it worked. So the notion that now, suddenly that one generation or two generations or even four or five generations removed; that suddenly we are treating new immigrants as if they are the problem when your grandparents were treated like the problem, or your great-grandparents were treated like the problem, or were considered somehow unworthy, or uneducated, or unwashed? No. That’s not who we are.”
Basically Obama accused those Americans who are against immigration of being hypocrites; hypocrites who themselves (or their ancestors) entered this country the same way today’s immigrants are doing so. Many supporters of Obama would certainly agree with this assessment, but opponents could respond with the fact that the opportunities in this country may not be quite as available as they were some 100 years ago. Immigration isn’t so much the debatable problem in this country, but it is illegal immigration that is. Obama claims that he has no problems with fighting illegal immigrations.
“We could have a legitimate debate about how to setup an immigration system that is fair and orderly,” Obama continued. “I think the people who came here illegally should have the consequences of paying a fine, and getting registered, and all kinds of steps that they should have to take in order to get right with the law. But when I hear folks talking as if somehow these kids are different from my kids, or less worthy in the eyes of god, that somehow they are less worthy of our respect, and consideration, and care, I think that’s Un-American. I do not believe that. I think it is wrong, and I think we should do better because that’s how America was made — by us caring about all our kids!”
While Obama has certainly let his feeling be heard, and without a doubt many Americans feel this same way he does, we still are faced with the problem of how to 1) keep illegal immigrants out, and 2) what do we do with the illegal immigrants who get into this country, establish families here, and desire to stay? These are the problems that very few politicians have shown a reliable solution for.
Undoubtedly this debate will never truly end, not with the next presidential election nor one several decades down the road.