Screen shot from YouTube.com
A post following up on Tuesday's State of the Union address titled "Obama's immigration talk: More yawns than cheers?" has drawn several comments from readers, some directly addressing the president's brief mention of immigration reform, some not.
In his address Tuesday, President Obama spoke of the need for comprehensive immigration reform, suggesting that if the Dream Act - proposed legislation that would grant conditional legal status to qualifying young people - were to reach his desk, "I will sign it right away." But this component of his speech wasn't anything new to those who follow immigration issues, and that was one of the themes of the next day's reactions in media and elsewhere, samples of which I posted.
In reaction to the post, Skv wrote:
What about thousands of people who came to this country legally, paying taxes and are waiting for their turn to become legal residents. I'm one of them. I came here as a student legally, got a job legally, paying my share of taxes, doing my bit to the community I live in and am waiting for my turn to obtain permanent legal status for the past 7 years.
Is there any closure to our problems? It is rather sad to see that people who are illegal in this country are given importance than people who are here legally.
Last night during his State of the Union speech, President Obama spoke, as he has before, about the need for comprehensive immigration reform. He also brought up, if not by name, the Dream Act, long-proposed legislation that would grant conditional legal status to undocumented young people who arrived in the U.S. before age 16 if they attend college or join the military.
"Send me a law that gives then the chance to earn their citizenship," Obama said. "I will sign it right away." But by and large, Obama's statements regarding immigration didn't draw much excitement. Here are a few snippets of reaction from media and elsewhere.
The immigration portion of the speech was nothing we haven't heard before, wrote Elise Foley in the Huffington Post:
When President Obama's immigration policy staffers gathered to help pen the State of the Union Address passage dedicated to their issue, they didn't have much to work with. Comprehensive immigration reform never came close, and the Dream Act failed. What's a speechwriter to do?
"I believe as strongly as ever that we should take on illegal immigration," Obama said in his Tuesday evening speech.
Indeed, he "strongly believe[d] that we should take on, once and for all, the issue of illegal immigration" last year, according to his State of the Union speech.
Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC
Even before tonight's State of the Union address, expectations that President Obama would address immigration issues weren't high. Still, a small crowd of mostly Latino activists, students, blue-collar workers and others gathered to watch it at the downtown office of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, which held a "viewing party" showing the address on a large screen with a simultaneous Spanish translation.
Some were simply curious to hear what Obama might say about immigration; others, including some who were in the same room at the immigrant advocacy office last month watching the Senate vote on the Dream Act, wondered if he might offer them a specific nugget of hope.
Screen shot from AP video
Daniel Hernandez, the young college intern who came to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' rescue after she was shot earlier this month in Tucson, will attend President Obama's State of the Union Address as a guest of Michelle Obama, along with the family of 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green, who died in the Jan. 8 attack at a Tucson grocery store that killed six and injured several others.
Here's what Hernandez, who turns 21 today, told USA Today:
"It's definitely a very exciting way to be spending my 21st birthday," Hernandez said in an interview. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I only wish it had happened under different circumstances."
In the weeks since the shooting, Hernandez has drawn a legion of fans, in part because of his heroism, in part because he also happens to be Latino and openly gay