Once again the president said all the right words. Broken borders are no longer acceptable. Immigration laws have to be enforced. The sanctity of citizenship must be maintained. And America needs the right legal processes to get the workers it needs to fuel economic growth. The White House said the same last year, right before it signed off on a massive “comprehensive” immigration bill that would have achieved none of those goals.

The president needed to do more to send the right the signal on the kinds of legislation that Americans would both find acceptable and would actually solve the problem. The State of the Union Address should have made clear that Congress must:

  • Reject amnesty
  • Repeal legislation that delays and complicates efforts by the Department of Homeland Security to rapidly deploy border security measures on the Southern border
  • Enhance Homeland Security’s ability to conduct internal enforcement by fully funding programs that promote state and local cooperation
  • Support the implementation of Real ID which creates national standards for identity credentials like driver’s licenses including not granting licenses to illegal aliens
  • Repeal the prohibition against allowing the sharing of “Social Security No-Match” (which does not include personal identifying information) with Homeland Security so that it can conduct targeted enforcement against employers who are abusing the system
  • Reform existing visa programs to get America the workers it needs now

Demanding this kind of action from the Congress is what the president needed to say—he did not.