It’s difficult to choose which of the troubling issues facing President Barack Obama is the most daunting. Each day brings a new obstacle to surmount, and on the Fourth of July, immigration reform—or the failure thereof—had to be numero uno for Obama as he welcomed a new batch of American citizens.
“This is one of my favorite events to do,” the president said during the naturalization ceremony at the White House last Friday. “And not just because we get to have a barbecue and watch fireworks later.”
Welcoming new citizens—with 25 of them of varying ethnicities—has to be better than contemplating what to do with 11 million undocumented immigrants. The irony of the moment continued when he announced that “America is and always has been a nation of immigrants.”
This comment inevitably led to longer remarks on the current stalemate on immigration reform—something intransigent Republicans in the Senate seem resolute against amending.
“If we want to keep attracting the best and the brightest from beyond our borders, we’re going to have to fix our immigration system, which is broken, and pass common sense immigration reform,” Obama declared.
Common sense is clearly a term not in the Republican glossary, and that obstinacy may become even more rigid if they gain control of the Senate in the next election. All they need are six seats to gain control.
Even if they don’t accomplish this mission, there is still an obdurate House, led by Speaker John Boehner, to contend with, and while Obama believes the votes are there, the speaker is reluctant to put it on the table.
Among the issues halting Boehner is the lack of stronger border security, and “until that changes,” he vowed, there would be no action on the issue.
The Republicans in the Senate—defying their Democratic colleagues who have agreed on a bill—have balked, insisting that the bill provides a pathway to citizenship and grants illegal immigrants amnesty.
Echoing in the background of the Republican stubbornness are Obama’s words from his radio address later that day that reminded his listeners and American citizens of “e pluribus unum.” “Out of many we are one.”