President Barack Obama devoted only a short portion of his speech to immigration, one of his top policy priorities in 2013. The reason for his brevity could be that the politics surrounding the issue are currently more delicate than ever. House Republicans plan to release priorities for reform as soon as this week, and it's a bad time to antagonize them. It's viewed as better, for now, to let the House GOP have its space to work.
Instead, Obama focused on the positive, saying "members of both parties in the House want to" address immigration reform this year and urging them to do it. He didn't go into detail about the specific policies -- he's done so in previous speeches, including last year's State of the Union address -- such as a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, border security and streamlining the legal immigration system.
And although Obama discussed executive actions he will take on other issues, he didn't announce any plans on immigration, despite activists' pleas for him to halt the deportations of undocumented immigrants without criminal records.
His full immigration comments:
Finally, if we are serious about economic growth, it is time to heed the call of business leaders, labor leaders, faith leaders, and law enforcement -- and fix our broken immigration system. Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have acted. I know that members of both parties in the House want to do the same. Independent economists say immigration reform will grow our economy and shrink our deficits by almost $1 trillion in the next two decades And for good reason: when people come here to fulfill their dreams -- to study, invent, contribute to our culture -- they make our country a more attractive place for businesses to locate and create jobs for everybody. So let’s get immigration reform done this year.
More interesting, to many, was the positive response from some Republicans to Obama's comments: