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Editorial

Biden on Immigrants: This is America

Above all, the President had to prove with his address to Congress that he is… ‘alive’. That he can deliver a speech. That he can stand for an hour. That despite his age, he is capable of governing the country if re-elected. That is his vulnerable point. His opponents have focused their ‘fire’ on that.

Last Thursday, Joe Biden exceeded expectations. In a strong voice, with enthusiasm, eloquence, and vigor, he launched waves of attacks against his ‘predecessor’ – he used this word 13 times – against members of Congress, even against Supreme Court justices.

“My lifetime,” he said, “has taught me to embrace freedom and democracy. A future based on the core values that have defined America. Honesty. Decency. Dignity. Equality. To respect everyone. To give everyone a fair shot. To give hate no safe harbor. Now some other people my age see a different story. An American story of resentment, revenge, and retribution. That’s not me.”

These things had to be said – it’s almost like we needed to be reminded of them.

However, if there was something that bothered me about his speech, it was that he didn’t talk as much about “the state of the country.” It was, after all, the State of the Union address. He delivered a campaign speech, the first since the electoral landscape cleared up, before a large – due to the subject – national audience.

Nevertheless, he said many interesting things. But what spoke to the heart of this immigrant, the one who is writing these words, in this incredibly hospitable, leading country of the world, was the part of his speech when he spoke about immigrants:
“I will not demonize immigrants saying they ‘poison the blood of our country,’” as he said in his own words.

“I will not separate families.

I will not ban people from America because of their faith.

Unlike my predecessor, on my first day in office I introduced a comprehensive plan to fix our immigration system, secure the border, and provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and so much more. Because unlike my predecessor, I know who we are as Americans,” he said.

The President continued: “We are the only nation in the world with a heart and soul that draws from old and new. Home to Native Americans whose ancestors have been here for thousands of years. Home to people from every place on earth. Some came freely. Some chained by force. Some when famine struck, like my ancestral family in Ireland. Some to flee persecution. Some to chase dreams that are impossible anywhere but here in America. That’s America, where we all come from somewhere, but we are all Americans.”

Yes, and this is the America that must remain.

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