Obama: Immigration Will Reshape America’s Politics

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
Font Size:

America’s changing population should and will change American politics, President Barack Obama told a Spanish-speaking audience Wednesday.

“At some point there’s going to be a President Rodriguez, or there’s going to be a President Chin. The country is a nation of immigrants, and ultimately, it will reflect who we are, and its politics will reflect who we are,” Obama said during the MSNBC/Telemundo interview, held at Florida International University, in Miami.

The nation’s president said he looks forward to the fundamental transformation of America’s population and politics. “That’s not something to be afraid of. That’s something to welcome,” he said.

“That’s always been how we stay dynamic and stay cutting-edge, and have energy and we’re youthful,” said Obama.

“People who are interested in looking backwards, they stay where they are,” and do not migrate, he said. “They are comfortable. They don’t want change. Even if there’s an earthquake in Haiti, they still stay where they are.”

“But if you come to America, it’s because you believe in the future, and that has to be reflected in our politics,” he said.

America isn’t about conservative-style evolved ideas, but about progress into the future, Obama argued. “We dream about the future. That’s what brings immigrants here, is we’re future-oriented, we’re not past-oriented.” (RELATED: Obama Threatens Consequences If Law Enforcement Officers Don’t Enforce Amnesty)

Obama’s comments in the interview with Jose Diaz-Balart complement his past and current focus on increasing immigration. In a November speech, for example, Obama suggested that Americans don’t have the right to decide who can migrate into the United States.

“There have been periods where the folks who were already here suddenly say, ‘Well, I don’t want those folks,’ even though the only people who have the right to say that are some Native Americans,” Obama said in a speech in Chicago, shortly after he announced his legally questionable Oval Office amnesty for about 5 million illegal immigrants.

Despite the deep demographic and political changes caused by large-scale immigration since 1965, established GOP leaders haven’t developed any rhetorical or policy response that would strengthen America’s successful political ideals amid a wave of diverse, Democratic-leaning immigrants.

Instead, GOP leaders have supported large-scale immigration because it gives business a government-created stimulus of lower-wage workers and government-funded consumers. In fact, many GOP leaders also say the nation’s economy is rejuvenated by foreigners, not by American young people.

On Feb. 24, for example, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch said that many foreigners are needed to keep his home-state’s economy growing. “It just makes sense,” he told The Daily Caller. “I don’t know why anybody would be against it,” he said.

When asked why Americans just aren’t good enough for Utah jobs, Hatch blamed the education system. “We don’t presently educate enough people. … [Companies on] Utah’s ‘Silicon Slopes,’ they’re having a tough time finding engineers and others to do the work,” he claimed.

The EngineerJobs.com website shows 13,483 engineers are seeking work in Utah. Also, wages for Americans with skilled degrees are not rising fast, suggesting there’s no marketplace shortage.

NEXT PAGE: Obama praises Jeb Bush

In Miami, Obama’s applauded the immigration views of some GOP leaders, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

“I appreciate Mr. Bush being concerned about immigration reform,” Obama said. “I would suggest that what he do is talk to the speaker of the House and the members of his party. Because the fact of the matter is that even after we passed bipartisan legislation in the Senate, they wouldn’t do it,” Obama complained.

In 2013 and 2014, Speaker John Boehner blocked the Senate immigration bill, partly because many polls showed deep opposition from Republicans and swing voters.

Also, GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions has lad out a low-immigration, high-wage strategy designed to aid voters, conservatives and the GOP.

A January poll by Gallup showed that only seven percent of respondents want the pace of immigration to be increased. Many other polls shows that voters — including Latinos — overwhelmingly prefer that Americans be hired before more foreign workers are added to the economy.

Since 2009, the annual inflow of 1 million legal immigrants has been boosted by almost 5 million foreign workers. That inflow adds up to roughly 11 million new foreign workers, even as roughly 24 million young Americans joined the workforce.

In November 2014, one in every five U.S. jobs was held by a foreign-born worker, up from one-in-six jobs in January 2010, according to federal data highlighted by the Center for Immigration Studies.

Obama ended his MSNBC/Telemundo interview by urging the next president to adopt a long-term political strategy for using immigration to reshape politics.

As president, “you have to be thinking not just in terms of short-term politics, you have to be thinking about what’s good for the country over the long term,” he said.

“What I would say to the next president is: Think ahead. Don’t say something short term because you think it’s politically convenient, and then box yourself in where you can’t do what’s right for the country. Think long term,” he said.

Follow Neil on Twitter