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-- Fox News alert President Obama is beginning his remarks on immigration.
Let's listen in Chicago.
Who took time off -- vacation.
To be here today we are blessed to have him I want to thank president -- Corwin and our hosts here at American University.
Secretary of labor -- the sole reason members of my administration.
All the members of congress.
So all the members of congress re elected officials.
Faith and law enforcement labor business leaders and immigration advocates.
We're here today thank you for her presence.
I want to thank.
American university for welcoming me to the campus once again.
Some may were called -- the last time I was here I was joined by.
A dear friend.
And a giant of American politics.
-- is not here right now.
But his legacy of civil rights and health care.
Worker protections is still with us.
I was a candidate for president that -- And some -- call -- argued that our country.
Had reached a tipping.
-- after years in which we have deferred our most pressing problems.
And too often yielded to the politics of the mall.
We now face to shorts.
We could surely confront our challenges with -- ought to -- and determination.
Or we could consign ourselves and our children.
To a future.
And less secure.
I believe that then.
And I believe it -- And that's why even as we've tackled the most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression.
Even as we've wound down the war in Iraq.
And refocus our efforts in Afghanistan.
My administration has refused to ignore.
Some of the fundamental challenges.
Facing this generation.
We launched the most -- education reforms in decades.
So that our children can gain the knowledge and skills they need to compete.
In 21 century global account.
We have finally delivered on the promise of health -- Perform the will bring greater security to every American.
And the will -- in the skyrocketing costs that -- families.
Businesses and the prosperity of our nation.
We're on the -- -- forming an outdated and ineffective set of rules governing Wall Street.
To give greater power to consumers.
And prevent the reckless financial speculation that led to this.
And were accelerating the transition to a clean energy economy.
By significantly raising the fuel efficiency standards of cars and trucks.
And by doubling our use of renewable energies like wind and solar power.
Steps -- have the potential to create whole new industries and hundreds of thousands of new jobs in America.
So despite the forces of the status quo.
And the frequent pettiness of our politics.
We are confronted.
The great challenges of our times.
And while this workers and easing.
And the changes we seek won't always happen overnight.
What we've made clear is that this administration will not just kick the can down the world.
Immigration reform is no exception.
In recent days the issue of immigration has become.
Once more a sense a source of fresh content.
In our country with the passage of a controversial law and Arizona.
And the -- reactions we've seen across America.
-- -- Behind this new policy.
Others of protesters and launched boycotts of the state.
And everywhere people of expressed frustration.
With a system that seems fundamentally broken.
Of course the tensions around immigration.
Are not new.
On the one hand we've always defined ourselves as a nation of members.
Nation that welcomes those willing to embrace America's -- sentence.
Indeed it is this constant flow of immigrants.
That help to make America what -- us.
The scientific breakthroughs of Albert Einstein.
The inventions of Nikola Tesla.
Great adventures of Andrew Card in these US steel and Sergey Brin is -- -- All this was possible because.
And then there -- the countless names.
The quiet acts but never made history books but we're no less consequential in building that's got.
The generations who break hardship.
And great risk.
To reach our shores in search of a better life for themselves and their fans.
The millions of people.
To most of us.
Who believed that there was a place.
Where they could be.
At long last.
-- don't work.
And live their lives in -- So the steady stream of hard working and tell the people has made America that engine of the global economy.
-- beacon of hope around the world.
And -- allowed us -- adapt and thrive in the face of technological.
And societal change.
To -- today America reached incredible economic rewards because we remain a Mac.
For the best and brightest from across the globe.
-- travel here in the hopes of being a part of a culture of entrepreneurship and ingenuity.
And by doing so they strengthen and -- that culture.
Immigration also means we have a younger workforce.
In a faster growing economy than many of our competitors.
And in an increasingly.
The diversity of our country is a powerful advantage.
In global competition.
You know just a few weeks ago we -- an event.
Of small business owners at the White House.
Business owner was a woman named -- The obvious who came to this country.
Became a citizen.
And open up -- successful technology services company.
When she started share just one employee.
Today she employs more than a hundred people.
This past April we held a naturalization ceremony at the White House for members of our armed forces.
Even though they were not yet citizens they had enlisted.
One of them was a woman named -- -- Born and raised in Mexico.
Came to the United States shortly after 9/11.
And she eventually joined the -- Just -- I take pride in our flag.
In the history that forged this great nation and the history we write a day by day.
And men and women across this country like them.
Remind us that immigrants have always helped to build and defend this country.
That being un American is not a matter of blood or birth it's a matter of faith.
It's a matter of fidelity to the shared values.
That we all hold so -- that's what makes us unique.
That's what makes a strong.
Can help us right.
The next great chapter in our history.
We can't forget that this process of immigration.
And eventual inclusion.
Has often been -- Each new wave of immigrants has generated fear and resentments -- newcomers.
Particularly in times of economic -- you.
Our founding was rooted in the notion that America was unique as a place of refuge.
And freedom forum in Thomas Jefferson's words oppressed -- met.
But the ink.
On our constitution was barely dry when -- conflict congress passed the alien and sedition acts.
Which placed harsh restrictions.
Of those suspected of having -- allegiances.
A century ago immigrants from Ireland Italy Poland.
Other European countries were routinely subjected to rank discrimination and ugly stereotypes.
Chinese immigrants were held in detention deported from Angel island.
In the San Francisco Bay they didn't even -- coming.
So the politics of who is and who is not allowed -- -- this country.
And on what terms.
And that remains true today.
And it's made worse by a failure.
Of those of us in Washington to fix.
A broken immigration just.
To begin -- Our borders.
Have been -- for decades.
Obviously the problem is greatest along our southern border but it's not restricted to that part of the country.
In fact because we don't do a very good job of tracking who comes in.
And out of the -- visitors large numbers avoid immigration law simply by overstating the basis.
The result is an estimated eleven million undocumented immigrants.
In the United States.
The overwhelming majority of these men and women.
Or simply seeking a better life for themselves -- Many shuttle and -- -- sectors of the economy.
They work hard they say they stay out of trouble.
But because they live in the shadows.
They're vulnerable to unscrupulous businesses who pay them less than the minimum wage or violate workers' safety rules.
Thereby putting companies who follow those rules.
And Americans who rightly demand the minimum wage or overtime.
At an unfair and -- Crimes go -- report as victims and witnesses fear coming formal.
And this makes it harder for the police to catch violent criminals and keep neighborhood -- And billions in tax revenue are lost each year because many undocumented workers are paid under the -- More fundamentally the presence of so many illegal immigrants makes a mockery of all those were going through the process of immigrating legally.
Indeed after here is a patchwork fixes an ill conceived revisions.
The legal immigration system.
Is is broken of the borders.
Backlogs of bureaucracy means the process can take years.
-- that -- waits for approval your shoes off and forbidden from visiting the United States which means even husbands and wives may be forced to spend many years apart.
-- -- And the need for lawyers may exclude -- worthy applicants.
And while we provide students from around the world did this to get engineering and computer science degrees and our top universities.
Our laws discourage them from using those skills to start a business or power a new industry right here in the United States.
And sort of training entrepreneurs to create jobs on our shores we train our competition.
In -- the system is broke.
And everybody knows.
Unfortunately reform has been held hostage.
To political posturing and special interest wrangling.
And to the pervasive sentiment in Washington that tackling such a thorny an emotional issue.
Is inherently bad politics.
And just a few years ago when I was set up.
We forge a bipartisan coalition in favor.
Of comprehensive reform.
Under the leadership of Senator Kennedy who would build a longtime champion of immigration reform.
And Senator John McCain.
We worked across the aisle to help pass.
A bipartisan bill through the Senate.
But that effort eventually came apart.
And now under the pressures of -- -- -- election year politics.
Many of there -- eleven Republican senators who voted for reform in the past have now backed away from the previous support.
Into this breach.
States like Arizona have decided to take matters into their own hands.
And given levels of frustration across the country this is understand.
But it is also ill conceived.
And it's not just of the law Arizona passed is the best of although -- does fan the flames of an already contentious debate.
Laws like Arizona's put huge pressures on local law enforcement.
To enforce rules there ultimately are unenforceable.
It puts pressure on already hard strapped.
State and local budgets.
It makes it difficult for people here illegally to report crimes.
Driving a wedge between communities and law enforcement making our streets.
And the -- of our police officers more difficult.
You don't have to take my word for us you speak to the police chiefs and others from law enforcement here today who will tell you the same thing.
These -- also have the potential.
Of violating the rights of innocent American citizens and legal residents.
Subject possible stops were questioning because what -- look what.
-- -- -- -- And others as other states localities go their own ways we faced the prospect.
The different rules.
For immigration will apply in different parts of the country.
A patchwork of local immigration rules where.
We all know one clear national standard.
Is to make our national laws actually work.
To shape a system that reflects our values as a nation of -- strong.
A nation remembers.
That means being honest about the problem wrong.
And getting past the false debates.
That divide the country rather than bring it together.
There are those.
In the immigrants rights community.
Who have argued passionately.
That we should simply provide those were illegally would legal status.
At least ignore the laws on the books and put an end to deportation until.
We have -- loss.
And often this argument is framed in moral terms.
Why should we punish people who are just trying to earn a living.
The sense of compassion that.
The drives -- sort.
But I believe such an indiscriminate approach would be both unwise and unfair.
It would suggest to those stinking thinking about coming here illegally.
That there will be no repercussions.
For such a decision.
And this could lead to a surge.
-- illegal immigration.
It would also ignore the millions of people around the world.
We're waiting in line to come here legally.
-- Our nation.
Like all nations.
Has the right and obligation.
To control its borders.
And -- -- for residency and citizenship.
And no matter how decent they are.
No matter the reasons.
The eleven million who broke these laws should be held accountable.
Now the majority of Americans are skeptical of a blanket amnesty -- -- Also.
Skeptical that it is.
Possible to round up and deport eleven million people.
They know what it's not possible.
Such an effort would be logistically impossible and wildly expensive.
It would terror at the very fabric of this nation.
We're here illegally are now intricately woven into that -- Many have children.
More American service.
Some are children themselves.
Brought here by their parents at a very young age growing up as American kids.
Only to discover they're illegal status when they apply for college.
Mostly here illegally.
Have been the labor force.
Of our farmers and agricultural producers for generations.
So even if it was possible.
A program of mass deportations would disrupt our economy and communities.
In ways that most Americans would find in tall.
Now once we get past the two polls.
Of this debate.
It becomes possible to shape a practical.
Common sense approach.
The reflects our heritage.
And our balance.
Such an approach demands accountability.
And from individuals and government has a threshold responsibility.
To secure our borders.
That's why I directed my secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.
A former border governor.
To improve enforcement policy without having to wait for a new -- Today we have more boots on the ground near the southwest border.
Then at any time in our history.
Let her -- -- we have more boots on the ground.
On the southwest border than at any time in our history.
The personnel assigned to border enforcement security task forces we tripled the number of intelligence analysts along the border.
For the first time we've begun screening 100% of southbound rail shipments.
And as a result receiving more illegal guns.
Cash and drugs than in years past.
Contrary to some of the reports that you see crime along the border is down.
And statistics collected by Customs and Border Protection.
Reflects a significant reduction.
In the number of people trying to cross the border illegally.
So the bottom why is -- the southern border.
Is more secure today than at any time in the past twenty years.
That doesn't mean we don't have more to do.
We have to do their work.
But it's important that we acknowledge the facts.
I even as we are committed to doing what's necessary to secure our borders.
Even -- passage of the new law.
There are those who argue that.
We should not move forward -- any other elements of reform.
Until we have -- -- our borders.
But our borders are just too vast.
-- to be able to solve.
Only with fences and border patrols.
It won't work.
Our borders will not be secure as long as our limited resources are devoted.
To not only stopping games and potential terrorists.
But also hundreds of thousands who attempt to cross each year simply to find work.
That's why businesses must be held accountable if they break the law.
By deliberately hiring and exploiting undocumented workers.
We've already begun to step up enforcement against the worst work workplace offenders.
And were implementing an improving a system to give employers a reliable way to verify that their employees are here legal.
We need to do more.
We cannot continue just to look the other way as a significant portion of our economy operates outside the law.
That breeds abuse and bad practices.
It punishes employers who act responsibly.
And undercuts American workers.
And ultimately if the demand for undocumented workers false.
The incentive for people to come here illegally will decline as well.
We have to demand responsibility.
From people living here illegal.
They must -- be required.
To admit debate broke the law.
-- should be required to register.
Pay their taxes pay a fine.
And learning what.
They must get right with the law before they can get in line and earn their citizenship.
Not just because it is fair.
Not just because -- will make clear to those who might wish to come to America then must do so inside the balance of the law.
But because this is how we demonstrate that being -- what being an American leaders.
Being a citizen of this country comes -- only what rights.
But also with certain fundamental responsibility it's.
We can create a pathway.
For legal status.
That is fair reflective of our values.
That's stopping illegal immigration.
Must go hand in hand -- reforming our creaky system of illegal immigration.
We've begun to do that by eliminating a backlog of background checks that at one point stretch back almost a year.
That's just for background check.
People cannot track the status.
Of their immigration applications by email for text message.
We've improved accountability and safety.
In the detention system.
And we stand the increases in naturalization fees.
But -- to we need to do more.
We should make it easier for the best and the brightest to come the start businesses develop products and create jobs.
Our laws should respect families following the rules instead of splitting them apart.
We need to provide -- a legal way.
The workers there while.
And a path for those workers to earn legal status.
And we should stop punishing innocent young people for the actions of their parents by denying them.
The chance to stay here and urban education and contribute their talents to build the country where they've grown up.
The dream act would do this and that's why I supported this bill every state legislator and as a US senator.
And why continue to supporters present.
So these are the essential elements.
The question now is whether we will have the -- And the political world.
To pass a bill through congress.
To finally get about.
Last summer I held a meeting with the leaders of both parts including many of the Republicans would supported reform in the past.
And some who had.
I was pleased to see a bipartisan framework proposed in the Senate by senators Lindsey Graham and Chuck Schumer.
With whom I met to discuss this issue.
-- spoken with the congressional Hispanic caucus.
The plot the way forward and -- and then -- met with them again earlier this week.
I've spoken -- representatives from a growing coalition of labor unions and business groups.
Immigrant advocates and community organizations law enforcement.
All who recognize the importance.
And I've met with leaders from America's religious communities like -- -- People of different faiths and beliefs.
Who nonetheless share a sense -- Who understand that fixing our broken immigration system.
Is not only a political issue not just an economic issue.
But a moral imperative is one.
So we've made progress.
I'm -- move forward.
The majority of Democrats are ready to move forward.
And I believe.
The majority of Americans.
Are ready to move -- But effective without bipartisan support.
As we had just a few years ago.
We cannot solve this problem.
Reform the brings accountability to our immigration system cannot pass without Republican votes.
That is the political and mathematical reality.
The only way to reduce the risk that this effort.
Will again falter because of politics.
Is -- members of both parties are willing to take responsibility.
For solving this problem once and for -- Yes this is an emotional question.
And one that lends itself to demagoguery.
Time and again this issue has been used to divide and in plain.
And to demonize people.
And -- understandable than the natural impulse.
Among those who run for officers to.
Turn away and defer this question for another day.
Or another year.
Or another administration.
Despite the courageous leadership in the past shown by many Democrats.
And some Republicans.
Including by the way my predecessor.
This is gonna cost.
That is why -- broken and dangerous system that offends our most basic American values.
It's still in place.
But I believe.
We can put politics.
Aside and finally have an immigration system -- account.
I believe we can appeal not people spears.
To their hopes.
To their highest ideals.
And that's who we are as Americans.
It's been inscribed on our nation's -- since we declared our independence.
Out of many one.
That is what has -- but the persecute.
In -- public to our shores.
That's what led.
The innovators and risk takers from around the world to take a chance here.
In the land of -- children.
That's what has led people to endure untold hardships to reach this place.
-- one of largest waves of immigration our history took place.
The more than a century ago.
At the time Jewish people were being driven out of eastern -- Often escaping to the sounds of gunfire.
And the -- from their villages burning to the ground.
The journey could take months.
This families crossed rivers in the dead of night.
Travel miles by foot.
Endured a rough and dangerous passage.
Over the North Atlantic.
Once here many made their homes.
The teaming him bustling Norman had.
There was at this time -- a young woman named Emma Lazarus.
Whose own family fled persecution from -- generations -- Took up the cause of these new -- Although she was a -- what she spent much of her time advocating for better health care housing.
For the newcomers.
And inspired by what she saw and heard she wrote down her thoughts.
And donated piece of work to help pay for the construction.
Of a new stature.
The stature of -- Which actually was funded in part by small donations.
From people across America.
Euros before the statue was built.
It would be seen by throngs of immigrants training -- next skyward.
At the end of a long and brutal mortgage.
Years before would come to symbolize everything that we cherish.
She imagined what it could mean.
She imagined the site of a giant statue.
-- the entry point of a great nation.
But unlike the great monuments of the past this would not signal.
-- -- Instead it would signal one's arrival to a place of opportunity.
And -- Here at RC washed up some surrogates shell stand.
A mighty woman with a torch.
From her beacon hand glows.
Keep ancient lands.
Your story -- Give me your tired and -- poor.
Your huddled masses yearning to be free.
Send these the homeless.
Tempest tossed to me.
I lift my lamp.
Beside the golden don't.
Let us remember these words.
For fall on each generation.
To ensure that that went.
Bad -- Continues to shine as a source of hope around the world.
And source of our prosperity.
Thank you god bless you may god bless the United States my.
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