Last week, President Barack Obama delivered remarks in Las Vegas about fixing the broken immigration system so that it is fairer and helps grow the middle class by ensuring everyone plays by the same rules.
"I’m here because most Americans agree that it’s time to fix a system that’s been broken for way too long." President Obama said. "I’m here because business leaders, faith leaders, labor leaders, law enforcement, and leaders from both parties are coming together to say now is the time to find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as the land of opportunity.”
President Obama's proposal for immigration reform has four parts. First, continue to strengthen our borders. Second, crack down on companies that hire undocumented workers. Third, hold undocumented immigrants accountable before they can earn their citizenship; this means requiring undocumented workers to pay their taxes and a penalty, move to the back of the line, learn English, and pass background checks. Fourth, streamline the legal immigration system for families, workers, and employers.
In response to the President’s remarks, a number of immigration leaders across the nation issued statements applauding the President for his leadership. Here are a few of those statements:
“Today, in Las Vegas, President Obama urged the country to join him in moving forward on immigration reform, offering a proposal that addresses the pressing economic, cultural, and moral crisis facing the nation over immigration. In doing so, he brought policies and principles down to one very important idea—that our American identity is directly tied to our heritage as immigrants and thus we owe it to each other to fix the immigration system once and for all.”
“President Obama promised voters that he would work with legislators in Washington to create an immigration process for our country’s aspiring citizens, and today he showed that he will deliver on that promise. The president spoke passionately about his commitment to a clear road to citizenship for the 11 million women and men who are Americans at heart if not on paper. He reminded the country of our own immigrant roots, and that immigration cannot be a matter of ‘us’ versus ‘them.’ In fact, he said, most of us, at some point, were ‘them.’”
“Today, President Obama unveiled his plan for immigration reform in a major speech in Las Vegas, stating a commitment to creating a roadmap to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and pledging to make immigration reform a top priority for 2013. United We Dream, the largest immigrant youth-led network in the U.S., is speaking out to welcome President Obama’s new leadership and pledging to continue pressing President Obama to stop deporting our families now. DREAMers will also pressure Congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle to support reform with a direct path to citizenship and an end to deportations that tear families apart.”
“We are looking forward to the detailed plan the President is expected to present tomorrow in Las Vegas. We welcome his leadership which will be essential to finally creating an immigration system which reflects our national values.”
“President Obama today provided another reminder why we are optimistic about immigration reform in 2013. During the President’s speech, he laid down a clear and important marker for the impending debate by saying it ‘must be clear from the outset that there is a pathway to citizenship.’
“These people have lived here for decades. They are the fabric of their communities. They need a pathway to citizenship that’s reasonable.”
““We welcome the President’s remarks today calling for commonsense immigration reform, including, importantly, a path to citizenship, reduced wait times for families to reunite, and an immigration system better aligned to the workforce needs of our economy. We are encouraged by several of the positive reforms the President outlined in his proposal, which, in some cases, are more far-reaching than the Senate framework.”
“The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) described President Obama’s address on immigration Tuesday as a significant turning point in American domestic policy and a ray of sunlight at the end of a long dark tunnel that has kept so many families in the shadows for more than two decades.”
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