Ethnic Media Parse the State of the Union

New America Media, News Analysis, Sarah Damian, Vivian Po, Andrew Lam Posted: Jan 28, 2010

Latino Media on the State of the Union
In his State of the Union address to Congress Wednesday night, President Obama again called for comprehensive immigration reform. "We should continue the work of fixing our broken immigration system," he said, "to secure our borders and enforce our laws, and ensure that everyone who plays by the rules can contribute to our economy and enrich our nation.”

Latino media coverage revealed disappointment that President Barack Obama didn't spend more time on the topic, however, an indication that the issue is not at the top of the White House's list of priorities. Here are some excerpts from coverage:

La Opinion (Los Angeles), "Obama's Priority: Creating Jobs"

"As expected, the president mentioned immigration as one of the pending issues on his agenda, as part of a system that is broken and needs reform. However, the topic did not rank high profile in the address."

Clarissa Martinez de Castro, Director of Immigration and National Campaigns, National Council of La Raza (NCLR)

"I think we missed an opportunity to link immigration reform as a factor that may help in recovery. Obviously he had to focus on the economy and job creation, but he didn't specify how they will implement these proposals."

La Opinion (Los Angeles), "Disappointment on Immigration"

'Well, I didn't like it because he spoke as a politician, in a roundabout way,' commented Andrea, who works from home. 'It gave us no hope of immigration reform; I know it's not easy, but he has promised a lot and hasn't carried out anything that he's promised.' "

Univision: "Obama Plays Down Reform: Legalization of Undocumented Uncertain"

"The scant mention made by President Barack Obama about immigration reform during his first address on the State of the Union left much to be desired among Hispanic activists. They expected more commitment and received a terse statement that Congress will return to the debate, for now without a date, in the 2010 agenda....

"Activists said they expected the president to elaborate on the issue, that he would cite the importance of bipartisan support in the immigration reform bill and to agree soon to approve in the first months of 2010 a plan that includes a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants. But he didn't say that."

The Chinese Media on the State of the Union

Chinese media are rather skeptical of the promises made by Obama during his speech. In a reported piece on the speech on World Journal, the author ended the article on a note of criticism and distrust. It said, “No matter what Obama said, no matter how beautiful his speech was, the most important things are actions and results. Therefore, we should just wait and see.”

Rep. Judy Chu, the first Chinese-American congresswoman, also agreed that her voters are not feeling hopeful towards the government. When interviewed by the World Journal right after the State of the Union address, Chu told the paper, “The disappointments from my district’s voters come from the slow progression of legislation standing still in Washington, D.C.”. But Chu said she believed Obama’s speech had moved the Democrat Party to reunite.

The World Journal also expressed concern about Obama’s relationship with his own party, especially after he announced he was freezing discretionary spending for three years starting from 2011. “Obama’s decision created anger within the Democratic Party,” the article wrote, “many conservative Democrats facing mid-term election this year will have to decide whether to stay close to Obama or distance themselves from him.”

On the other side, China Press, a Chinese newspaper whose readers are largely new immigrants from China, focused its coverage on Obama’s views on China mentioned in his speech. One of the headlines read, “Obama’s first State of the Union Address Mentioned China Twice with Concerns." The article stated, “Obama has mentioned China twice in his speech which indicates that he feels the urgency of global competitions from other countries faced by the US."

Just seeing what portions of the speech were translated showed what newspapers thought their community was interested in. For example, Sing Tao Daily translated the portions in which he talked about health care reform, employment and banks.

Vietnamese Media on the State of the Union
A blog on the Vietnamese newspaper CaliToday says the State of the Union might not be enough to reverse the flagging fortunes of the Democrats.

"The American political scene has become very polarized, as was self-evident last night when President Obama gave the State of the Union Address. Politicians are ruled by their parties, while the country is suffering from a rising unemployment rate and the national debt has risen to $1.4 trillion.

While the Republicans welcomed President Obama, throughout the entire speech, they sat stone-faced and worse, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito kept shaking his head in disapproval.

Many Democrats are now worried that the political trend will follow the fate of the Massachusetts Senate seat, once occupied by deceased Democrat Senator Kennedy, but taken over by a Republican.

To be fair, President Obama played central role in preventing the recession from turning into something worse. However, the recovery is barely visible and unemployment remains high and more and more Americans are disappointed with his performance. Indeed, if the economy isn’t revived this year, more political seats will surely be taken over by Republicans during midterm election."


Related Articles:

Pregnant and Shackled: Hard Labor for Arizona's Immigrants



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User Comments


John Rhodes on Jan 28, 2010 at 16:25:46 said:

Unless our president is lying,amnesty is off the table. One cannot be "playing by the rules" and here illegally. Those are mutually exclusive concepts. "...everyone playing by the rules" I was delighted to hear those words from our (US Citizens) president. Unless he is lying, amnesty is DOA.


John Rhodes on Jan 28, 2010 at 16:25:01 said:

Unless our president is lying,amnesty is off the table. One cannot be "playing by the rules" and here illegally. Those are mutually exclusive concepts. "...everyone playing by the rules" I was delighted to hear those words from our (US Citizens) president. Unless he is lying, amnesty is DOA.


l00ker on Jan 28, 2010 at 13:33:34 said:

He ignored it because he knows that's another battle that he is certainly to lose.


Gavin on Jan 28, 2010 at 12:27:45 said:

Acutally, the only time Obama actually mentioned immigration reform, he said "...secure our borders and enforce our laws, and ensure that everyone who plays by the rules can contribute to our economy and enrich our nation." This specifically EXCLUDES anyone who is here illegally, because they're not "playig by the rules." He had to say something the American public could agree with. Do racist organizations like La Raza actually think the president has the ability to force amnesty upon us? That would start a civil war, with 85% of the country being opposed to the foreign invasion. As far as immigration being a "road to recovery," that is laughable. Population growth exceeding economic growth is what got us into this mess in the first place.


Dave A on Jan 28, 2010 at 12:11:05 said:

It's good to hear that Obama spoke of "everyone who plays by the rules". Immigration can be a good thing but we need to hold the line against those that don't play by the rules. This means NO AMNESTY!!

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