Columns / Discourse / January 23, 2013

Deliver on immigration

The true gift of the politician is to speak eloquently and say nothing. Vague generalizations and sweeping notions of “freedom” and “unity” are his bread and butter. This is something that we can witness any day of the week by flipping to a random news station, but that we get a special dose of during election season.

With the election behind us, we stand behind President Obama during his inauguration and witness the same sweeping notions of “freedom” and “unity” we, as the American people, have grown to know and love.

In this second inaugural address, he is all about the theoretical, which is of course the purpose of an inaugural address. The election season is for laying out plans of action that the candidate may or may not stick to, and speeches are for rhetoric and sensationalism.

I voted for Obama. I think he does a great many things well and was by far the best candidate in this election; however, when it comes to immigration in both speech and policy, he is a tremendous disappointment.

In his address on Monday, he briefly addressed the issue of immigration. “Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity, until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce, rather than expelled from our country.”

These eloquent words are moving, but they lack the substance of any legitimate commitment. What is this better way? Obama has yet to truly address a real alternative to the conservative way. This false idealism is setting up millions of Americans — whether they are North, Central or South American — for the same disappointment seen in his last term.

According to a CNN columnist, Ruben Navarrette, “Here is a president who claims to be seeking a new kind of justice for illegal immigrants and their families, and yet he’s deported more than 1.5 million of them and divided thousands of families.”

In the same column, he references the landslide with which Obama took the Latino vote, a mind-blowing 71 percent. Romney was absolutely an inferior candidate when it comes to comprehensive immigration reform, but when did politics become about selecting the lesser evil?

There has been some speculation that his second term will hold these very necessary reforms, but vague allusions are inadequate. We need a firm commitment and we need it now. This was never a priority in his platform, but it should be a priority to represent his constitutuents, all of them, especially those whose voices have not been heard in the past.

With this presidency, I hope to see a change in immigration we can believe in. Something concrete that will remain after all the pomp and circumstance has evaporated.

Tags:  deport immigration inauguration latino obama

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Samantha Paul
Samantha Paul is a senior double majoring in creative writing and Spanish. She previously served as both a news reporter and a copy editor for TKS. During the summer of 2012, Sam served as press chair of a literacy brigade in El Salvador. She has also interned with both Bloom Magazine and The Galesburg Register-Mail. At Knox, Sam is an organizational editor for Catch magazine.

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