President Obama's Immigration Speech

Update: Here's the White House Fact Sheet with details of Obama's plan.

Airing now on CNN. Felons, not Families.

Three components:
  • More money for law enforcement at the border
  • Easier and faster process for skilled workers to stay here
  • Temporary relief against deportation for some undocumented immigrants
As to the undocumented, he is offering temporary protection against deportation for those:[More...]

  • who have been here for more than 5 years
  • who have children who are citizens or are legal residents
  • who register and pass background checks
  • who agree to pay back taxes
Since the next president can repeal his order, this is a very temporary protection. I wonder how many will apply, given that the information they provide in the application process would make it easier for them to be found and deported if the next president repeals the order.

Obama's message to criminals and undocumented immigrants who arrive in the future: If you’re a criminal, you’ll be deported. If you’re thinking of coming here, your chances of getting caught have just gone up.

Obama said deportation of criminals has increased 80% over the past five years.

He blamed Republican leaders in Congress for not allowing an up or down vote on the immigration bill. He is still encouraging Congress to act.

I don't think there's an issue as to his legal authority to do this. He's not granting anyone benefits. He's just not going to deport a certain segment of the undocumented population.

Earlier today on CNN, a White House staffer was on. He kept repeating "Felons not Families." The point is that this is a family unification and reunification measure, not amnesty. I feel badly for the undocumented without children (which I presume includes those who raised children here who have since died, so they are now childless.) It seems they won't be covered.

It's a good first step, and hopefully Congress will take up the issue in the next session. (There are Republicans who support immigration reform.) Unfortunately, since there is no guarantee of how long the protection will last, I doubt it will be a great comfort to the undocumented, including those who meet the criteria.

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  • Display: Sort:
    I loved it (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by MKS on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 07:19:46 PM EST
    Finally, a step in the right direction.

    So, let the bigots bray.  

    Just (none / 0) (#5)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 07:46:44 PM EST
    Just for grins (none / 0) (#7)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 07:52:25 PM EST
    Im watching FOX.   It's not what you would call positive  but it's less hysterical than I expected.  O'Reilly had a well known immigration activist in a pretty sympathetic interview.  This may be about to change.  Laura Ingram is coming up.

    I will watch Fox now too (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by MKS on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 08:30:21 PM EST
    The Republicans are mad because they know opposing Obama's action will make them look like the bigoted, heartless xenophobes they are.

    Ok (none / 0) (#9)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 07:55:21 PM EST
    the very survival of the republic depends on the court reversing this.   She is losing it.
    She has never ever never ever seen anything blah blah .....

    It usually takes them a few days to ... (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 08:18:52 PM EST
    ... build themselves up to the proper crescendo of manufactured outrage. I give them until Sunday to get their Frank Luntz-scribed talking points coordinated.

    I'm not watching (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 08:21:04 PM EST
    It's sad we all know the exact choreography to this dance.  It's so worn out.  I can't watch.

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 08:25:23 PM EST
    this is about all they've been capable of doing for over two decades now. Newt started the screeching jihad and it continues.

    Perhaps this throw down will chart a (none / 0) (#30)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 09:07:52 PM EST
    New course for his last two years.  He's never done this to them before, just told them tough $hit.  Most of us thought he should have done of it years ago.  BushCo told everyone to get bent for years and the majority of Americans thought they were courageous strong leaders when they did it until we all fell off a cliff or two :)

    Is (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by lentinel on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 08:26:17 PM EST
    Frank still wearing a veal parmigiana on his miserable head?

    Frank would never waste good veal like that. (none / 0) (#40)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 10:47:48 PM EST
    So he's substituted angel hair pasta instead.

    Maybe (none / 0) (#54)
    by lentinel on Fri Nov 21, 2014 at 09:09:47 AM EST
    it's just a cow omelette.

    But what if the news that Wilson (none / 0) (#36)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 09:33:59 PM EST
    grand jury fails to indict hits the airways ASAP?

    Just letting you know (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by coast on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 07:27:25 PM EST
    not every Republican A) is against amnesty and B) think what was done by the President is unlawful.

    The (none / 0) (#8)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 07:52:29 PM EST
    problem is there's about 20 GOP house members that are reasonable and probably agree with your statement. Secondly they are apparently going to be overruled by the crazies.  

    skilled labor (5.00 / 6) (#11)
    by Dadler on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 08:12:26 PM EST
    this is a bigger can of worms than one realizes. american companies lobby congress with absolute lies about the inability of america to produce enough scientists, when the truth is we produce more than we ever have, and, in fact, the biggest unemployment crisis in the PhD world is with STEM PhDs. These companies, the biggest in the world some of them, lie so they can import labor that is NOT more skilled, that they can pay less, and utterly control (since if you make waves on the job with a temp visa and get fired, you also get deported). as usual, imo, obama is a typical pol here, incapable of telling the whole truth while doing a little bit that is good.

    STEM "shortage" myth (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by Dadler on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 08:13:51 PM EST
    One link I've referenced before. (link)

    There are others you can find with a cursory look.


    One other thing from that link (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by CST on Fri Nov 21, 2014 at 11:05:26 AM EST
    about the proposal to "attach a green card to every STEM degree" is that it would actually prevent visa holders from being beholden to their employer, and therefore would be less likely to put downward pressure on the market, because they wouldn't be coerced into staying/working for less.

    Also... a lot of the reason people move out of STEM to finance/business is the money, but it's not that tech jobs don't pay well, although I 100% agree that research is underfunded and underpaid, there are higher paying private sector STEM jobs available.  That's not why people leave stem for finance, it's that nothing can compete with finance when it comes to how much money you make.  But maybe that's a problem with finance more than it's a problem with tech.  The way our economy is set up right now, Goldman Sachs is going to pay a physics major way more than any research job could reasonably pay.  That doesn't mean researchers shouldn't get paid more, but I have a hard time saying that anyone should be getting paid as much as the people who work in finance - especially those that work in finance.


    I'm pretty torn about this (5.00 / 2) (#58)
    by CST on Fri Nov 21, 2014 at 09:59:34 AM EST
    I agree that they are lying about a shortage, but I also see no problem giving out more Visas.  The people here on these Visas are no less worthy of staying than anyone else.
    I understand what you're trying to say, but it's been the argument against increased immigration all around - low wage workers.  I don't see how we can reasonably support it for people who come here illegally and "flood" low wage jobs, and then cry when they do it to higher paying jobs too.  Either you think immigration is a good thing for this country or you don't.  I think you have valid concerns, but ultimately these people here on visas often get green cards or become Americans, their kids are Americans, and they end up in the same boat as everyone else.  Personally I don't think more visas are a bad thing, it's very limited right now.  I dunno, I've worked in STEM most of my life, and these "job stealers" are also my coworkers and friends.  I lost a lot of college friends to the visa process, they came here for school and didn't get jobs.  And these are people who if they were born here, and didn't need a visa sponsor, would have had no problems finding employment.  So I'm not sure it's exerting the kind of pressure on the market that you say it is, although if you make it easier to get a visa I guess it could move that way.  But I also think it's important to point out that as true as this argument may be, it's the same anti-immigrant argument everyone always uses against everyone, STEM or not.

    Thank-you, for writing this. (none / 0) (#60)
    by vml68 on Fri Nov 21, 2014 at 10:25:37 AM EST
    I wanted to say the same thing but I was not sure if I would be able to make my point as clearly as you did.

    Exactly...god forbid we have one remaining (none / 0) (#49)
    by ruffian on Fri Nov 21, 2014 at 08:49:22 AM EST
    high wage job arena available to people that are not doctors or lawyers or finance people.

    The fact it can be repealed by the next president (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by Angel on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 08:16:10 PM EST
    makes it even more imperative that a Democrat gets elected in 2016.  

    Vote for Hillary or your (none / 0) (#23)
    by MKS on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 08:33:21 PM EST
    friends and relatives will be deported by the Republicans.

    Someone here said they were uncomfortable making too much of a political issue....because it makes Latinos look like pawns....True, the human, moral element is the most important thing.   And something has happened that has helped.

    Now, this is a case of good policy being good politics.  


    I said that... (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by vml68 on Fri Nov 21, 2014 at 11:06:02 AM EST
    they were uncomfortable making too much of a political issue....because it makes Latinos look like pawns

    and the conversations since the speech have just reinforced it for me. The majority of the comments have been about the reactions of the Republicans and their "heads exploding". Not much discussion about the actual policy.

    Jeralyn has touched on a few points that I think are very important. The relief is just temporary. People are being asked to come out of the shadows, pay back taxes, etc., with no guarantee that the risk they will be taking won't come back to bite them in 3 years. Plus, they get no benefits. Assuming most of these people are low income, they still get no help with healthcare, housing, etc.
    So, I don't see the advantage in coming out. Wouldn't it make sense for people to just keep things the way they are? This way they have relief from deportation but they don't have to put their info out there in case things get ugly in 3 years?


    Exactly - the policy speaks for itself (none / 0) (#52)
    by ruffian on Fri Nov 21, 2014 at 08:59:21 AM EST
    No need to obnoxiously stress the politics.  Some Dems may be dumb enough to do that however.

    Hillary has issued a statement (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by MKS on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 09:15:43 PM EST
    supporting Obama's action.....

    Not so much a statement (none / 0) (#37)
    by CoralGables on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 09:54:58 PM EST
    but a Tweet:

     Hillary Clinton        ✔ @HillaryClinton

    Thanks to POTUS for taking action on immigration in the face of inaction. Now let's turn to permanent bipartisan reform. #ImmigrationAction
    8:26 PM - 20 Nov 2014


    My apologies (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by CoralGables on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 09:58:31 PM EST
    There was also a statement:

    I support the President's decision to begin fixing our broken immigration system and focus finite resources on deporting felons rather than families. I was hopeful that the bipartisan bill passed by the Senate in 2013 would spur the House of Representatives to act, but they refused even to advance an alternative. Their abdication of responsibility paved the way for this executive action, which follows established precedent from Presidents of both parties going back many decades. But, only Congress can finish the job by passing permanent bipartisan reform that keeps families together, treats everyone with dignity and compassion, upholds the rule of law, protects our borders and national security, and brings millions of hard-working people out of the shadows and into the formal economy so they can pay taxes and contribute to our nation's prosperity. Our disagreements on this important issue may grow heated at times, but I am confident that people of good will and good faith can yet find common ground. We should never forget that we're not discussing abstract statistics - we're talking about real families with real experiences. We're talking about parents lying awake at night afraid of a knock on the door that could tear their families apart, people who love this country, work hard, and want nothing more than a chance to contribute to the community and build better lives for themselves and their children.

    immigration, not amnesty (2.00 / 2) (#55)
    by thomas rogan on Fri Nov 21, 2014 at 09:22:45 AM EST
    My parents waited in line for six years to get into the US in the 1950's.  If you love immigration so much then open up five million new green cards right now and give them to those who have been following the proper process to get into the country.  Of course, people who legally line up to emigrate are from all over the world, whereas the currently undocumented are mostly Latino--and thus political pandering is at play...

    I don't believe what Obama proposed is amnesty. (5.00 / 3) (#59)
    by Angel on Fri Nov 21, 2014 at 10:04:04 AM EST
    Statistics on the undocumented (5.00 / 2) (#61)
    by Anne on Fri Nov 21, 2014 at 10:29:11 AM EST
    can be found here:

    From the link:

    Who are the immigrants in the United States illegally? Where do they come from? In which states do they settle? What jobs do they hold?

    As of 2012, the population of immigrants in the United States illegally is estimated to be approximately 11.43 million, roughly 3.7% of the entire US population. 59% of the immigrants in the country illegally are from Mexico, and 25% of all immigrants in the country illegally reside in California. 53% of the immigrants in the United States illegally are male. In 2008, approximately 31% of workers in the roofing industry and 27% of maids/housekeepers were immigrants living in the country illegally.

    Yah know (none / 0) (#56)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Fri Nov 21, 2014 at 09:28:47 AM EST
    It's like I told somebody at the Starbucks yesterday who mentioned this to me, "what else are you going to do with 5 million people in this country?  round them up and just deport them?"  He had no comeback for me on that one.

    If you want to blame someone, blame Boehner and his refusal to let the bill that got passed in the Senate come up for a vote in the H of R, which Obama has said he will sign after it passes in that Chamber.


    If you are not a felon (none / 0) (#2)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 07:20:10 PM EST
    we are not going to deport you.  It's not a solution but it's pretty powerful stuff.

    This will be fun to watch.

    Just saw this (none / 0) (#4)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 07:40:44 PM EST
    One advantage that the administration may have in the post-announcement era is that the new deferred action program is likely to be fee-based, which will render it safer from attacks through the congressional appropriations process. But Republicans may still try to stop it through funding bills or any other means necessary.

    On to plan B

    Republican leadership (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Nov 21, 2014 at 08:36:53 AM EST
    is basically confirming this.  They can't stop it with funding tricks.   Very smart.

    Mich McConnell (none / 0) (#6)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 07:50:29 PM EST
    now had so much flop sweat the flooring is soaked underneath him and he better watch it because he's going to slip and fall if he's not careful.

    Lord have mercy. The GOP is in full sturm and drang and the crazies are definitely going to run things it looks like.

    Gawd, that's why I decided to start (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 08:14:02 PM EST
    Watching the Olive Kitteridge miniseries.  I just can't do it. Aren't they tired yet?  I'm tired just watching them.

    Well, Charlie (none / 0) (#17)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 08:22:56 PM EST
    Pierce said they were put through finishing school for the election but apparently that schooling is already wearing off. The screeching jihad is out in full blast.

    Obama finally has found what is going to work for him. He's been trying the reasonable act and it didn't work but now that the GOP has a complete roster of jihadi in the house and the senate all he has to do is sound reasonable. I'm glad I don't suffer from migraines because I'm sure I would have plenty of them over the next two years with these screeching nuts.


    Jihad :) (none / 0) (#21)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 08:28:07 PM EST
    This is certainly a lesser Jihad.  Will the GOP ever have a greater Jihad in my lifetime?

    Fun Fact (none / 0) (#19)
    by CoralGables on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 08:25:35 PM EST
    Obama has signed fewer Executive Orders per year of his presidency than any president since Grover Cleveland's 1st term (1885-1889).

    Another (none / 0) (#25)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 08:38:44 PM EST
    this is apparently an executive "action" as opposed to an order.  I guess there is a difference?

    Yes, I think so (none / 0) (#48)
    by jbindc on Fri Nov 21, 2014 at 08:42:37 AM EST
    As I understand it, "Executive Actions" are any informal proposals put forth by the president and most carry no legal weight - basically, it's a wish list. If they do actually translate into policy, they can be invalidated by Congress or by judicial action.  On the other hand, "Executive Orders" are legally binding and are published in the Federal Register (although they too can also be invalidated by Congress or the courts).

    The local headline about this: (none / 0) (#24)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 08:38:41 PM EST
    Obama defies GOP.

    Presumably, John Boener will be in court tomorrow, asking for an injunction for Obama to be forced to go to bed early and made to skip his supper for the next week.

    The new TX governor (none / 0) (#26)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 08:41:28 PM EST
    is already in court.  But it's not clear he has "standing".  Laura Ingram says the only people with legal standing is a member of congress as a separation of powers thing.



    I think she picked the wrong week (none / 0) (#27)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 08:46:47 PM EST
    to stop sniffing glue.

    A truly horrible statement... (none / 0) (#29)
    by fishcamp on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 09:06:01 PM EST
    Just channeling (none / 0) (#39)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 10:35:35 PM EST
    I read that while Obama can offer protection (none / 0) (#28)
    by vml68 on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 09:02:37 PM EST
    from deportation to parents whose children are citizens or legal residents, he cannot do so for the parents of "dreamers". Can someone explain to me why that is the case?

    I would guess that's because ... (none / 0) (#41)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 10:52:44 PM EST
    ... most of the "Dreamers" are over 18 years of age and are no longer legal dependents.

    I thought it was because the "dreamers" (none / 0) (#43)
    by Anne on Fri Nov 21, 2014 at 07:32:23 AM EST
    are children who were not born here, but brought here by parents who entered the country illegally, such that the entire family is here in violation of immigration laws.  

    They were. (none / 0) (#62)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Nov 21, 2014 at 10:48:08 AM EST
    And they've grown up in the only country they've really known. And for those who've since turned 18 and are now legally adults, the executive action applies to them and not their parents. But if the "Dreamers" have siblings who've since been born here, then the action probably applies to the parents as well. Or something like that. I really need to look at this in more detail to figure it out.

    I have not read anywhere that the (none / 0) (#63)
    by vml68 on Fri Nov 21, 2014 at 10:48:23 AM EST
    citizen children of the parents who will be allowed to stay have to be under 18 or legal dependents, so I am not sure why that would have to be the case with "Dreamers".
    But, even if that were the case, what I am trying to understand is what allows Obama to protect one class of people and not the other. Is there a law regarding this?
    Peter G, where are you when I need you?

    These are the kinds of questions that (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by Anne on Fri Nov 21, 2014 at 02:45:52 PM EST
    highlight for me the difficulty that ensues when trying to so finely parse these family situations.

    We have the children - however old they are now - whose parents brought them here; I think it's fair not to punish them for something they could not control.

    Then we have the children who were born here to parents who were not here legally; these children are citizens, their parents are not, and it's all kinds of cruel to separate entire families in order to "punish" the parents.

    And then, we have all the people who don't have children.  Many of them work, they pay taxes that help pay for programs and services they don't qualify for, they contribute to a Social Security system they have no eligibility for.  These working men and women are shouldering part of the burden for things they will not benefit from.  They pay sales taxes that help pay for roads and schools and other services.

    They're here, we've absorbed them already - why can't we accept them instead of vilify them?

    And from some defined point forward, what do we do?  Why aren't we looking in a different direction - why aren't we putting more pressure on the countries from which people are coming to improve the conditions that put them on the run for something better?  Oh, right - foreign aid doesn't work, it doesn't filter down to the people who need the help, there's too much corruption and on and on and on.  

    It starts to seem like all we ever do anymore is say "we can't, we can't, we can't," for reasons that consist mostly of "because we can't, that's why."

    Dadler is right - we have no imagination in this country anymore, no vision; we're so plugged in all the time that we're not really thinking anymore.  We see and we hear but we don't question.  We don't dream.  

    I'm sorry, I didn't mean for this to turn into a rant, but I guess it did.


    Thanks, Anne. (none / 0) (#69)
    by vml68 on Fri Nov 21, 2014 at 03:20:12 PM EST
    I am trying to understand how this whole thing works.
    What makes one action possible and another not? How are the limits set, eg., parents have to have been here 5+ years? Was that just an arbitrary number? Are the people who have lived here 4.5 years any less tied to this country than those who have lived here 5.1 years?
    What if your parents are deceased and you are being raised by siblings/aunts/uncles that are illegal? Are they protected?

    So many questions and I can't seem to find the answers.


    You should be watching Hannity (none / 0) (#31)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 09:15:08 PM EST
    BRAZEN DEFACTO AMNESTY.   Michelle Bachman, Louie Gomert and Jeff Sessions!

    I'm recording it to watch when I get depressed.

    Yeah, coming up next (none / 0) (#33)
    by MKS on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 09:16:33 PM EST
    I am watching this too.

    Will they say the "I" word?


    Bachman (5.00 / 3) (#34)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 09:26:47 PM EST
    "we need people to melt the phone lines.  Well, not now.  When we are there.  Dec 3 we need people to MELT the phone lines.  Dec 3rd to 11th we need people to melt the phones.



    Oh gawd. That was so funny. (none / 0) (#35)
    by Angel on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 09:28:46 PM EST
    Was she trying (none / 0) (#44)
    by MKS on Fri Nov 21, 2014 at 08:25:45 AM EST
    to say "burn up the phone lines?"

    I only quote (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Nov 21, 2014 at 08:35:00 AM EST
    stepping into that mind is not in my job description.

    Louie Gohmert! (none / 0) (#42)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 11:02:05 PM EST
    What, Lloyd Christmas and (none / 0) (#47)
    by Anne on Fri Nov 21, 2014 at 08:41:19 AM EST
    Harry Dunne were busy?

    In addition to the policy which I support (none / 0) (#50)
    by ruffian on Fri Nov 21, 2014 at 08:56:12 AM EST
    It may be my favorite speech by any pol in a long time. Clear, eloquent, heartfelt truthtelling.  Transcript here

    Loved the closing:

    My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too. And whether our forbearers were strangers who crossed the Atlantic, or the Pacific or the Rio Grande, we are here only because this country welcomed them in and taught them that to be an American is about something more than what we look like or what our last names are, or how we worship. What makes us Americans is our shared commitment to an ideal, that all of us are created equal, and all of us have the chance to make of our lives what we will. That's the country our parents and grandparents and generations before them built for us. That's the tradition we must uphold. That's the legacy we must leave for those who are yet to come.

    Good part of the speech (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by MKS on Fri Nov 21, 2014 at 11:16:50 AM EST
    He said that part with passion.

    It Was very good (none / 0) (#51)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Nov 21, 2014 at 08:59:07 AM EST
    and his one line FU to the republicans was brilliant.

    You don't like it? pass a bill.


    Yup. Hope he keeps repeating that (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by ruffian on Fri Nov 21, 2014 at 09:02:20 AM EST
    as the GOP spends the next [insert big number] months doing everything BUT pass a bill.

    I saw somewhere, (none / 0) (#67)
    by MKS on Fri Nov 21, 2014 at 11:19:55 AM EST
    I think on TPM, that Obama was "angry."

    Well, good.  If Bush (W) had a mandate with fewer popular votes than Gore, then Obama certainly has the right to stick it to Republicans in Congress who have stonewalled this issue through at least two Presidencies.    


    Very clever... (none / 0) (#57)
    by kdog on Fri Nov 21, 2014 at 09:36:54 AM EST
    to throw that bit of scripture in there too...what would Jesus do?

    One thing I'm confident JC wouldn't do is brag about the further militarization of the southern border...but now I'm seriously nitpicking, overall I agree it was an excellent speech, and a most welcome humane policy change.