State of the Union (Warning: not restricted to the boundaries of this country)

President Barack Obama’s State Of The Union address this year shared few points with its 2009 counterpart. With the big topics of ‘09 being sustainable energy, healthcare reform, and more substantial education for Americans it was interesting to see that in 2014, our priorities are elsewhere. I’m not sure a list of achievements was in order, although a country-wide feel good moment probably couldn’t hurt. After almost as much applause as is heard at the end of a sold out Justin Bieber concert, president Obama began talking about a need to expand our economy and increase domestic manufacturing.  We can all agree that in the long term outsourcing can only hurt our economy. But that’s now… Back in ‘09 outsourcing wasn’t on the radar as an issue.  However, healthcare and a large reduction in spending were up there on the list of things to improve.  When the president inherited a country full of problems in 2008 there wasn’t very much “wiggle room” in terms of what he could do without upsetting the nation. It appears as though the important issues then haven’t been fixed, especially with the recent healthcare outrage that ensured 2013 ended fairly off-balance, but there was little mention of this in the new address. However, a big topic of the 2014 SOTU was immigration, when President Obama said, “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”.  He received even more applause, not unexpected though, from both parties.

I’m glad that so much attention was aimed towards immigration reform this year because as a nation cleaner reusable energy is already on our list of priorities and now we can move onto bigger things that may just help strengthen the economy. House Speaker John Boehner knows that it’s time to get serious about fixing the dysfunctional immigration system, for the good of the country. The tribune article on the address highlights the preparation of the GOP’s unveiling of a “statement of principles” that could be the foundation for their own bill, one that could be ready for an executive signature by year’s end. Hopefully throughout the course of this year some real action can be taken towards reforming immigration in this country. The current system takes nearly 13 years and makes it easy to see why illegal immigration is an appealing choice to many with no other options.  It would be great to see America’s economy strengthened by the people of the world rather than just those already here.

After all- we’re all immigrants to one degree or another.

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