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What if Obama Gave His Immigration Speech in Michigan?

President Obama renewed a call for serious discussion about reforming the nation’s immigration laws in his speech yesterday in El Paso. He enlisted the American public to actively join the push to get Congress to move past the stalled debate and into action.

One of the hurdles comprehensive reform faces is the varying impacts of immigration across the nation. Obama chose to give this speech in El Paso specifically to address border security, and the criticism he has drawn for it, head on.

Had he decided to give his speech in Michigan, say in Detroit, his rhetoric probably would have been weighted more toward immigration as it relates to the American economy, American competitiveness globally, and supporting job-creating entrepreneurship. Leaders in low immigration areas have begun to think about recruiting new immigrants as a strategy to boost both their economies and, in some cases, grow their populations.

Like Congress, state and local leaders, as well as the public, vary in which parts of immigration reform they are willing to support. This is what makes this issue a tough one to negotiate.