What greater honor can a President have than to attend a naturalization ceremony, especially on the Fourth of July?  The ceremony marks the end of a years-long process for people who came to the United States legally and then worked and studied to become Americans.  Yesterday, Barack Obama got to speak at one such event where the new citizens went the extra mile and served in the US military, too.  What would a President say to these fine young men and women on the occasion of their official transformation into American citizens?

Er … how about a plea to Congress to let those who came illegally get the same honor:

But Obama did more than just welcome members of the military to American citizenship.  The naturalization ceremony took a political turn when the president defended his controversial decision to unilaterally enact some provisions of the DREAM Act — which would put illegal immigrants who came to this country at a young age on a path to citizenship, but which has failed to win passage in Congress — and also to renew his call for comprehensive immigration reform.

“We’re still perfecting our union, still extending the promise of America,” Obama told the group.  “That’s why, as another step forward, we’re lifting the shadow of deportation from serving — from deserving young people who were brought to this country as children.  It’s why we still need a DREAM Act — to keep talented young people who want to contribute to our society and serve our country.  It’s why we need — why America’s success demands — comprehensive immigration reform.”

Did the President understand that the people at this event actually went through all the trouble, time, and expense of coming into the country legally, and then served our nation in the military?  It’s not that comprehensive immigration reform isn’t a valid issue for an election — it certainly is — but making this pitch at a naturalization ceremony, especially this one, makes one wonder if Obama can tell the difference between legal and illegal immigration.  We know one thing for sure: his audience certainly did.

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