There are several reports out there that claim the push for gun control will override potential immigration reform legislation, but gun control and immigration reform are not competing interests.
President Obama is pushing for immigration reform, making it one of his top priorities in his second term. He has also indicated that he will be pushing for extensive gun control legislation, based on recent recommendations delivered to him by Vice President Biden and his task force. The President knows legislation is multilayered and that we don’t tackle one problem at a time.
When did we become a nation that does not believe in pushing for significant legislation and reforms at different levels? When did we stop multi-tasking? During the American Civil War, the 13th Amendment was adopted, abolishing slavery. During the Great Depression, the federal government was enacting one program after another in order to get us out of that economic pit. That became known as the New Deal. Social Security arose from that era. During the 1960s the Great Society reforms passed civil rights legislation, Medicare, and the United States sent men to the moon. That is what great nations do.
President Obama made it clear that he will be pushing for immigration reform in his second term, which he won, in part, from the near universal support and influence of Latinos.
Beyond border security and targeted deportation of undocumented individuals who commit crimes, he is looking into expanding reform to changing the antiquated legal immigration system. Any bill will include an increase in visas for individuals with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering or math. President Obama has also indicated that he would like to see more flexibility in dealing with the foreign migrant labor force. With regards to the DREAM Act, the President considers passage of this decade-old bill an essential component in immigration reform and key in making the President’s temporary and administrative deferred action policy permanent. President Obama has also consistently said that a path to citizenship is vital to immigration reform, and to him, it is not “amnesty” and not negotiable.
At the same time President Obama is vowing to continue his support for expansive gun control legislation that would require congressional backing — including banning assembled AR-10 rifle, limiting the capacity of ammunition magazines and instituting universal background checks — despite opposition from the National Rifle Association (NRA) a powerful pro-gun lobby. In his speech at Newtown following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the President said the following:
“There’s only one thing we can be sure of, and that is the love that we have for our children, for our families, for each other. The warmth of a small child’s embrace, that is true.
The memories we have of them, the joy that they bring, the wonder we see through their eyes, that fierce and boundless love we feel for them, a love that takes us out of ourselves and binds us to something larger, we know that’s what matters.
We know we’re always doing right when we’re taking care of them, when we’re teaching them well, when we’re showing acts of kindness. We don’t go wrong when we do that.
That’s what we can be sure of, and that’s what you, the people of Newtown, have reminded us. That’s how you’ve inspired us. You remind us what matters. And that’s what should drive us forward in everything we do for as long as God sees fit to keep us on this Earth.
For those of us who remain, let us find the strength to carry on and make our country worthy of their memory.”
Immigration reform is not in conflict with gun control, as some people seem to think. Far from it. The President knows that we should address more than one issue at a time. And why not? The true problem lies in congressional inaction. We have members of Congress that do not represent their constituents because we know that national polls favor both immigration reform and gun control legislation. Tackling big problems with concrete solutions is what defined as a nation in the past and should continue to do now and in the future.