Commentary: Immigration Reform an Economic Issue

Feb. 13, 2013 / By



JESÚS E. VALENZUELA FÉLIX/Coachella Unincorporated

SALINAS, Calif. — Tuning in to Obama’s State of the Union address, I expected immigration reform to be a key issue — one that would take up a good chunk of his speech. Instead, he devoted roughly two minutes and 10 seconds (clapping included) to the issue, which induced expressions of disappointment from many of my friends who had gathered to watch him on television.

To focus on the brevity of the president’s words on immigration however, is to miss the point of his message. He did, in a subtle way, manage to do something important: he integrated immigration into his speech, much in the same manner as immigrants integrate themselves into every aspect of U.S. society. His message on immigration reform, in fact, could be understood like an integer in a math equation:

Immigration Reform + Higher Minimum Wage + Better Schools + Equal Pay for Women = Better Economy

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Coachella Unincorporated

Coachella Unincorporated is a Youth Media Startup in the East Coachella Valley, funded by the Building Healthy Communities Initiative of The California Endowment and operated by New America Media in San Francisco. The purpose of the project is to report on issues in the community that can bring about change. Coachella Unincorporated refers to the region youth journalists cover but also to the unincorporated communities of the Eastern Valley with the idea to “incorporate” the East Valley into the mainstream Coachella Valley mindset.