State of the Union: Leaving immigration reform behind

State of the Union: Leaving immigration reform behind

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President Obama / SOTU Screen Shot /
President Obama / SOTU Screen Shot /

OKLAHOMA CITY, January 31, 2014 — President Obama’s State of the Union this week used the same rhetoric as his previous speeches, with one difference: less talk about immigration reform. Obama gave immigration reform just a few sentences, telling Republicans to join the Democrats in passing reform.

Congressman Eric Cantor applauded when immigration reform was mentioned, and Senator Charles Schumer grinned with joy in the hope of passing it this year, but neither Party will compromise on immigration reform, nor does the president see much hope of it passing soon. 

At the beginning of Obama’s presidency, immigration reform was a hope that was finally going to happen for the millions of undocumented individuals living here. Obama campaigned on the issue in 2008 and 2012, yet the promise fell short.

With neither Party unified on immigration reform, it will be sidelined again while the president pushes for an increase in the federal minimum wage. As long as the Republicans reject the Democrats’ demand of sweeping reform legislation in favor of a step-by-step approach, the millions of undocumented individuals in the U.S. will face another disheartening year without legal status.

Although DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) was forced by the president through executive order, amnesty won’t come by the same means. That leaves the president waiting for Congress to move forward on immigration reform.

That is unless the president’s party controls both the House and Senate in the next Congress. Yet the president will most likely push a federal minimum wage law of $10.10; immigration reform will come second. The same scenario unfolded when the president pushed healthcare forward and left immigration reform out to dry in his first term.

Immigration reform is just a few votes shy of getting through the House, but if neither side compromises, the issue will be tabled for the 2016 presidential election. The president’s year of action will yield only inaction on immigration reform.

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