Obama’s Immigration Speech

I have already written a post about India’s PM Narendra Modi and his marketing strategy. Obama deserves his own post too.

I noticed that in marketing yourself, especially through a speech, the words you say must not only be meaningful, but also shake you to your very core.

I want to applaud Obama for his very well done speech. He definitely got peoples’ attention earning his fair share of respect and criticisms, which only tells us his speech was heard – loud and clear.

Obama has wanted to pass a bipartisan bill since his seat in office, but with no help from the Republican leaders in the House, the immigration system continues to suffer.

I’m going to pick apart his speech and help us understand why he was effective in delivering his message.

First, he starts on a positive note with a hint of history to get that rush of pride flowing through all Americans:

“For more than 200 years, our tradition of welcoming immigrants from around the world has given us a tremendous advantage over other nations.”

He addresses the problem head on. He doesn’t keep us in the dark. He tells us that it’s time to face the truth:

“But today, our immigration system is broken, and everybody knows it.”

He gives us the facts. And nothing speaks louder than the facts:

“Today, we have more agents and technology deployed to secure our southern border than at any time in our history. And over the past six years, illegal border crossings have been cut by more than half. Although this summer, there was a brief spike in unaccompanied children being apprehended at our border, the number of such children is now actually lower than it’s been in nearly two years. Overall, the number of people trying to cross our border illegally is at its lowest level since the 1970s. Those are the facts.”

He demonstrates and reinforces his stance and authority as president. This confidence reassures Americans and will only make others fonder towards this nation:

“But until that happens, there are actions I have the legal authority to take as President – the same kinds of actions taken by Democratic and Republican Presidents before me – that will help make our immigration system more fair and more just.”

He brings us back to the main message quickly with a clever literary technique that only makes his message stronger:

“Felons, not families. Criminals, not children.” These are the individuals that will be deported, but not those who have lived here a long time and have become a part of the American life.

He gives a 360 approach. He addresses certain misinterpretations people may have of his intentions:

“I know some of the critics of this action call it amnesty. Well, it’s not. Amnesty is the immigration system we have today – millions of people who live here without paying their taxes or playing by the rules, while politicians use the issue to scare people and whip up votes at election time.”

Nice family touch, Barack:

He understands many may disagree with his actions, after all, his ancestors too did go through “painstaking work” to become citizens. No one should get a free pass towards American citizenship.

He reminds us of the bigger picture these actions will support and throws in some rhetorical questions for emphasis:

“Are we a nation that accepts the cruelty of ripping children from their parents’ arms? Or are we a nation that values families, and works to keep them together?”

He gives a story of a young girl, Astrid Silva, who lived in the shadows all her life, but dared to strive and make a life for herself in America.

An emotional touch will do the trick. How can you not feel for this girl whose “…only possessions were a cross, her doll, and the frilly dress she had on.”

He shows his religious side and references the Bible:

“Scripture tells us that we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger – we were strangers once, too.”                                                                        

And wraps it up neatly with a rephrase of his introduction:

“My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants.”

Well done, Obama.

(All quotes from his speech was taken from USA Today)

Go to bed now,



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