Here’s the complete transcript in case you’re moved to read it, although I don’t know why you would be. You’ve heard this speech a hundred times before, and not just from Obama. Enforcement is better than it’s ever been, we have too many people “living in the shadows,” etc etc, so it’s time we got serious about amnesty. Even so, this is good politics for him insofar as there’s a lot of upside and little downside. No one expects it to go anywhere in Congress, and even if it did he’d have bipartisan cover, so the risk of alienating voters who think the solution to high unemployment might not be a sudden glut of legal labor is small. (In fact, so horrible has the economy been that America’s illegal population actually dropped by the largest amount in 30 years in 2009 and is presumably dropping still. Enforcement, Hopenchange-style.) Meanwhile, he gets to reassure Latinos that he’s serious enough about this issue to put his face to it in a major speech, even if he’s not quite serious enough to do anything about it via an executive order. So it’s a consummately political speech, and as with all O speeches, it ends ironically with a plea to … put politics aside:
So, the question is whether those in Congress who previously walked away in the name of enforcement are now ready to come back to the table and finish the work we’ve started. We have to put the politics aside. And if we do, I’m confident we can find common ground. Washington is behind the country on this. Already, there is a growing coalition of leaders across America who don’t always see eye-to-eye, but who are coming together on this issue. They see the harmful consequences of this broken system for their businesses and communities. They understand why we need to act.
He also assured the audience that the border fence is now “basically complete,” which is news to Jim DeMint and news to anyone else who remembers the “virtual fence” being touted as a deus ex machina in policing the border. The feds finally abandoned that idea just four months ago because — surprise — it wasn’t working. But maybe that’s a good thing. If we slide back into a recession, we might start seeing Americans try to sneak over into Mexico. As long as Cancun has high-speed Internet, I’m set. Click the image to watch.