On Immigration, The Lame Duck Quacks Back

IMMIGRATION POLITICS-While there is a longstanding Washington tradition of mocking ineffective "lame duck" administrations, President Obama's State of the Union speech bucked the trend and showed this duck still has a lot to quack about -- especially as it relates to immigration.  

As one of many special guests, a 20-year-old Texas hotel receptionist, college student and undocumented resident named Ana Zamora signaled that President Obama considers Immigration Reform to be a cornerstone of his 2015 agenda. 

Zamora was brought to the United States illegally from San Luis Potosi, Mexico, at the young age of one and was granted temporary status in 2012. In May, she'll graduate with a degree in business administration from a university in Dallas. 

Her case is a shining example of efficient and effective immigration reform, but she also illustrates just one aspect of what amounts to a different sort of border crisis: young people from "other than Mexico" who are seeking refuge in the United States. 

What did the president leave unaddressed? The nearly 400,000 people backlogged in the Immigration Courts, which are operated by the president's own U.S. Justice Department; the clear need for legal representation for minor children seeking asylum in this country; the fact that immigration is part of a justice system crisis strong enough to have united Obama's progressive attorney general with the conservative Koch brothers. 

Additionally, the Justice Department's immigration court judges' request for both more resources and more independence has largely been ignored. It doesn't take a juris doctorate to understand that asking an underage asylum seeker to face a Justice Department lawyer and a Justice Department judge might fall short of the civics class ideal. 

Perhaps those are correctly fights for another day and we should say "President Obama, keep up the quacking!" 

Tuesday night, frankly, you reminded many of your former supporters why we voted for you in the first place; commitment to the principles and ideals that made this country so great. We don't want Peking duck, Yakitori duck, Daffy Duck, or duck served cold. 

We want more of the Super Mallard who has mastered the art of D.C.'s kabuki theater, and we'll need him to help find more Ana Zamora stories among those thousands of people waiting for their shot at the American Dream.


(Sara Corcoran Warner is publisher of the non-profit California Courts Monitor website …  "your daily ration of civil justice rationing.")  Follow Sara Warner on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CACourtsMonitor





Vol 13 Issue 7

Pub: Jan 23, 2015