President Obama Reviews Accomplishments in the 2012 State of the Union Address; but Despite Efforts, Immigration Reform Remains Distant.Lots of small changes make the system slightly more fair, but still a long way from real and meaningful reform.
Denver, CO - The Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC) applauds President Obama for renewing his commitment to comprehensive immigration reform and the DREAM Act in his 3rd State of the Union Address last night. CIRC also praises the administration for progress made to provide administrative relief for immigrant families; but important challenges still remain, as does the out-of-control enforcement apparatus that splits up thousands of American families every year.
The following is a statement of Ricardo Perez, President of the Board of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition:
"Last night, President Obama gave his third State of the Union Address. In this address, his first reelection speech of 2012, President Obama reiterated his strong commitment to comprehensive immigration reform (that's reform addressing every part of the system) and made a plea to Congress to push the DREAM Act forward, both of which are wonderful, if uncontroversial positions.
"However, in an unlikely to succeed bid to shore up his credibility with conservatives, he also lifted up his increased enforcement efforts, which have led to 1.2 million deportations over the last 3 years, more than George W. Bush deported in both of his terms. The President did not bring up the fact that an unacceptably large number of those deportations were people with no criminal records, who only got caught up in the broken system.
"Since last summer, in the absence of Congressional action, the Obama administration has used its own legal authority to implement 'prosecutorial discretion' and to refocus limited resources on those who commit violent crimes, in order to try and make the immigration system more sensible and humane. However, if the President wants the full support of the immigrant community, his Administration must follow through on the promise of these small shifts in enforcement priorities and truly commit to fixing the whole system, because it will remain broken until there is a will and an effort to push through real and meaningful immigration reform.
"Unfortunately, Republican lawmakers, including most GOP Presidential candidates, have publicly stated their opposition to the DREAM Act and to any other legislation that would lead to actual reform. The President is on the right track, but in light of intransigent opposition and State laws like Alabama's HB-56, he needs to do much more if he really wants to address this civil rights battle of our time."