President’s Obama speech on immigration was translated on November 20th, 2014 and addressed extremely important issues which concern almost every single person living in America today. Even though the first part of it is rather informative, tells about immigration, provides statistics and announces actions which will be taken by the President in the nearest future, the whole speech is rather persuasive because it makes the audience change their attitude towards people from other countries who live in America and look at immigration problems through another perspective.
In the introductory part of his speech the speaker provides a thesis statement which is the following: “Our tradition of welcoming immigrants from around the world has given us a tremendous advantage over other nations. It kept us useful, dynamic and entrepreneur” (Obama). As for attention getting devices, the President makes a statement that shocks: “Our immigration system is broken” (Obama) and arouses the audience’s curiosity. He also convinces listeners that the issue relates to everyone: “All of us take offence to those who reaps rewards of living in America without taking on responsibilities of living in America” (Obama). I believe that such technique is very effective because it captures attention, causes interest and creates need to find out more about the problem. The speaker doesn’t provide the overview of the speech, it is presented in narrative form, has introduction, main body and conclusion and it is easy to understand when a new part begins. The speech is addressed to the whole nation and the speaker clearly states it at the very beginning by saying “my fellow Americans, tonight I’d like to talk with you about” (Obama) . Overall, the introduction is effective and allows anticipating further discussion.
In the body main body of his speech the President explains that Republicans refusal to vote a compromise bill which would help to improve the immigration system resulted in the actions he, as a president, has legal authority to take. Obama lists three actions which will be taken in order to protect the immigration system and pays special attention to the last one which is “dealing responsibly with undocumented immigrants who already live in America” (Obama). The speaker supports his claims with facts. For example: “Over the past 6 years illegal border crossings have been cut by more than half” or “Overall the number of people trying to cross our border illegally is at its lowest level since 1970s” (Obama). In support to his actions Obama also states that similar steps were taken by every single democratic and republican president for the past fifty years. Nevertheless, sources of these facts are not mentioned. The speaker also repeats his thesis statement by saying that immigrants are part of American life and society and encourages both parties to keep looking for more effective solutions. The President also states that he hears concerns Americans have about the changes but convinces that they will not hurt the country but contribute to it since “immigrants are net plus for our economy and society” (Obama). To persuade the audience the speaker repeats his thesis statement one more time by saying that “this debate is about who we are as a country and who we will be” (Obama). He compares opposite examples to show that allowing people from other countries to take responsibility and live in America will influence image of our country positively. The speaker finalizes the main part of his speech by encouraging everyone to look at immigration and problems related to it by focusing on hopes it can bring not fears it causes.
In the final part Obama tells a real life story of a girls whose name is Estward and who arrived to America when she was four years old. Estward was forced to live mostly in a shadow, however, as she grew up she decided to “advocate for herself “ (Obama). Estward now “is a college student working on her third degree” (Obama). He keeps the audience’s attention by asking a rhetorical question: “Are we a nation that kicks out striving hopeful immigrants like Estward or are we a nation that finds a way to welcome her in?” (Obama). The President also cites the Scripture and repeats his thesis by addressing the whole nation: “My fellow Americans, we are and we always will be a nation of immigrants because we were strangers ones too” (Obama). He makes it clear that it is our responsibility to help and support immigrants in their wish to “make a difference in the country they love” (Obama).
Through his speech the President used many attention getting devices such as telling a real life story, asking questions, making statement that intrigue and impress, explaining in what ways the topic of the speech relates to the audience. The speaker also addresses the opponents and convinces that their claims are not reasonable: “Critics call it amnesty. It is not because amnesty is the immigration system we have today” (Obama). The President also uses emotional appeal a lot. For example: “are we a nation who rips children of their parents arms?” or “I’ve seen determination of immigrants father working two or three jobs at risk of losing it all just to build a future for their kind”. Or, “I’ve seen a heartbreak and anxiety of children whose mothers might be taken away from them” (Obama). Such style together with constant eye contact and different voice rates affect my overall reaction to the speech, the speaker achieves his purpose because now I feel that this problem is much closer and important I could have imagined. Therefore I can state that the speech is very well written and presented.
CNN.com International. Web. Dec 15, 2014 http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/politics/2014/11/20/obama-immigration-reform-full-speech.cnn.html