By Dana Wagner
With the ease of a term-two President, Barack Obama delivered the State of the Union address on January 20, 2015, to a nation still riding the slump of a global recession. The US economy took the spotlight: jobs creation, raising the minimum wage and paid maternity leave. Climate change, cyber security, terrorism, and war, also featured prominently.
Although immigration was a major debate in 2014 culminating in the executive action to offer temporary legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants, Obama’s address did not stray far into immigration issues. The major policy announcement was an old one, that Obama would veto a bill by Congress to repeal his immigration reform.
But Obama did use the opportunity to frame his message about immigrants and immigration. Here’s a snapshot of what the President said:
“So the verdict is clear. Middle-class economics works. Expanding opportunity works. And these policies will continue to work, as long as politics don’t get in the way. We can’t slow down businesses or put our economy at risk with government shutdowns or fiscal showdowns. We can’t put the security of families at risk by taking away their health insurance, or unraveling the new rules on Wall Street, or refighting past battles on immigration when we’ve got a system to fix. And if a bill comes to my desk that tries to do any of these things, it will earn my veto.
“Yes, passions still fly on immigration, but surely we can all see something of ourselves in the striving young student, and agree that no one benefits when a hardworking mom is taken from her child, and that it’s possible to shape a law that upholds our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.”
“I want future generations to know that we are a people who see our differences as a great gift, that we are a people who value the dignity and worth of every citizen – man and woman, young and old, black and white, Latino and Asian, immigrant and Native American, gay and straight, Americans with mental illness or physical disability. I want them to grow up in a country that shows the world what we still know to be true: that we are still more than a collection of red states and blue states; that we are the United States of America.”
A full transcript of the State of the Union 2015 can be found here.