Posts Tagged ‘Immigration’

The Immigration Speech Obama Should Give

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Instead of using his prosecutorial discretion authority, President Obama should just grant a presidential pardon to every illegal immigrant who’s been in this country for at least seven years and committed no other crime, conditioned on paying back taxes and fines and demonstrating the ability to support himself and his family (in order to counter the GOP “illegals on welfare” charge). Here’s the speech the President should give tonight to announce that program.


Starting in 1863, with the Civil War still raging, President Abraham Lincoln granted amnesty to soldiers in the Confederate Army. They had committed treason—a crime so serious that it is punishable by death, and the only crime defined by the Constitution—yet Lincoln granted them amnesty so that the country could move on and heal.”


“Today, America is similarly riven, plagued by a broken immigration system that is both unfair and unenforceable. This broken system has sown the seeds of anger and conflict, and those seeds have yielded a bitter harvest. It is time for us as a nation to put this problem behind us.”


“The issue of amnesty for the estimated 11 million currently in the United States illegally has been at the center of our disagreement, a far smaller portion of America’s population than Lincoln and his successor, President Andrew Johnson, pardoned in their time. We can not, neither as a matter of both pragmatism and humanitarianism, deport these people en masse, as some would have America do. Indeed, the funds which Congress authorizes for our judicial and enforcement agencies allow for only a small fraction of them to be dealt with under our current, broken law.”


“Our inability to resolve this issue of the 11 million has poisoned the broader reform which almost all agree needs to be done. Having under my explicitly authorized Constitutional pardon power removed the issue from the debate, it is my hope that Congress will now be willing and able to resolve the remaining, less contentious issues, so that we can finally repair and reform our broken immigration system.”


“I have therefore resolved to use my unambiguous Constitutional authority to resolve and remove the issue that has so poisoned our debate. I will do so by granting conditional amnesty to all those who meet the criterion of law-abiding, self-supporting, contributing members of society. This is not an Executive Order. This is an exercise of presidential pardon power, just as Presidents Lincoln and Johnson did with the members of the Army of the Confederacy, and the millions of civilians who supported their cause.”


“In his Act of Reconstruction and Amnesty, President Lincoln required only that those receiving amnesty take an oath never again to engage in rebellion against the United States. The presidential amnesty I am announcing today will be stricter: All those who receive a pardon will be required to show that they are law-abiding, contributing members of society, and to pay a fine in recognition of their past illegal action.”


“Lincoln was criticized by those who thought his amnesty too lenient, who thought that the citizens and soldiers of the Confederacy should have been punished. I too will I’m sure be criticized by those who think the payment of back taxes and fines not harsh enough punishment. Lincoln knew that the United States could not be restored and rebuilt after such a brutal and bloody conflict without amnesty for the South? A similar act of healing is necessary before we can rebuild our own broken immigration system.”


“We are a great nation, and we are a nation of immigrants. These are our friends, neighbors, coworkers, and family. They live among us as contributing members of society and long-standing members of our communities. It is time to put this destructive conflict behind us and move forward.”


“As President Lincoln said, let us again be one Nation, undivided and indivisible. Let us then do so also, and move forward, together.” – the speech President Obama should give to announce his immigration pardon program

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