Tag Archives: immigration

White House Staff: Our American Stories

We Are a Nation of Immigrants

The White House, just like any other office, is full of American stories that started abroad. To learn more & to share your family’s American story visit WhiteHouse.Gov/Immigration

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President’s Weekly Address, 6/8/13: Time to Pass Commonsense Immigration Reform

“Hi, everybody. In the next few days, America will take an important step towards fixing our broken immigration system. The entire United States Senate will begin debating a commonsense immigration reform bill that has bipartisan support.

See, we define ourselves as a nation of immigrants. The promise we find in those who come from every corner of the globe has always been one of our greatest strengths. It’s kept our workforce vibrant and dynamic. It’s kept our businesses on the cutting edge. And it’s helped build the greatest economic engine the world has ever known.

But for years, our out-of-date immigration system has actually harmed our economy and threatened our security.

Now, over the past four years, we’ve taken steps to try and patch up some of the worst cracks in the system.

We strengthened security on the southern border by putting more boots on the ground than at any time in our history. And, in part, by using technology more effectively – today, illegal crossings are near their lowest level in decades.

We focused enforcement efforts on criminals who are here illegally – who endanger our communities – and today, we deport more criminals than ever before.

And we took up the cause of “Dreamers,” the young people who were brought to this country as children. We said that if they’re able to meet certain criteria, we’d consider offering them the chance to come out of the shadows so they can continue to work here, and study here, and contribute to our communities legally.

But if we’re going to truly fix a broken system, we need Congress to act in a comprehensive way. And that’s why what’s happening next week is so important.

The bill before the Senate isn’t perfect. It’s a compromise. Nobody will get everything they want – not Democrats, not Republicans, not me. But it is a bill that’s largely consistent with the principles I’ve repeatedly laid out for commonsense immigration reform.

This bill would continue to strengthen security at our borders, increase criminal penalties against smugglers and traffickers, and hold employers more accountable if they knowingly hire undocumented workers. If enacted, it would represent the most ambitious enforcement plan in recent memory.

This bill would provide a pathway to earned citizenship for the 11 million individuals who are in this country illegally – a pathway that includes passing a background check, learning English, paying taxes and a penalty, and then going to the back of the line behind everyone who’s playing by the rules and trying to come here legally.

This bill would modernize the legal immigration system so that, alongside training American workers for the jobs of tomorrow, we’re also attracting highly-skilled entrepreneurs and engineers who will grow our economy. And so that our people don’t have to wait years before their loved ones are able to join them in this country we love.

That’s what immigration reform looks like. Smarter enforcement. A pathway to earned citizenship. Improvements to the legal immigration system. They’re all commonsense steps. They’ve got broad support – from Republicans and Democrats, CEOs and labor leaders, law enforcement and clergy. So there is no reason that Congress can’t work together to send a bill to my desk by the end of the summer.

We know the opponents of reform are going to do everything they can to prevent that. They’ll try to stoke fear and create division. They’ll try to play politics with an issue that the vast majority of Americans want addressed. And if they succeed, we will lose this chance to finally fix an immigration system that is badly broken.

So if you agree that now is the time for commonsense reform, reach out to your Representatives. Tell them we have to get this done so that everyone is playing by the same rules. Tell them we have the power to do this in a way that lives up to our traditions as a nation of laws, and a nation of immigrants.

In the end, that’s what this is all about. Men and women who want nothing more than the chance to earn their way into the American story, just like so many of our ancestors did. Throughout our history, that has only made us stronger. And it’s how we’ll make sure that America’s best days always lie ahead.

Thanks. And have a great weekend.”

Source: http://1.usa.gov/18fJP8l

President’s Weekly Address, 6/1/13: Congress Should Take Action to Continue Growing the Economy

In this week’s address, President Obama says that the economy is moving in the right direction, but there is still more work to do. He called on Congress to act to give every responsible homeowner the chance to save money on their mortgage by refinancing at historically low interest rates, put more Americans to work rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, and fix our broken immigration system, so that we can continue to grow our economy and create good middle class jobs.

“Hi, everybody. Over the past four and a half years, we’ve been fighting our way back from an economic crisis and punishing recession that cost millions of Americans their jobs, their homes, and the sense of security they’d worked so hard to build.

And thanks to the grit and determination of the American people, our businesses have now created nearly 7 million new jobs over the past 38 months.

An auto industry that was flatlining is once again the heartbeat of American manufacturing – with Americans buying more cars than we have in five years.

Within the next few months, we’re projected to begin producing more of our own crude oil at home than we buy from other countries – the first time that’s happened in 16 years.

Deficits that were growing for years are now shrinking at the fastest rate in decades. The rise of health care costs is slowing, too.

And a housing market that was in tatters is showing new signs of real strength. Sales are rising. Foreclosures are declining. Construction is expanding. And home prices that are rising at the fastest rate in nearly seven years are helping a lot of families breathe a lot easier.

Now we need to do more.

This week, my administration announced that we’re extending a program to help more responsible families modify their mortgages so they can stay in their homes.

But to keep our housing market and our economy growing, Congress needs to step up and do its part. Members of Congress will be coming back next week for an important month of work. We’ve got to keep this progress going until middle-class families start regaining that sense of security. And we can’t let partisan politics get in the way.

Congress should pass a law giving every responsible homeowner the chance to save about $3,000 a year on their mortgage by refinancing at historically low interest rates.

Congress should put more Americans to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, like the one that collapsed last week in Washington state. We’d all be safer, and the unemployment rate would fall faster.

And Congress should fix our broken immigration system by passing commonsense reform that continues to strengthen our borders; holds employers accountable; provides a pathway to earned citizenship; and also modernizes our legal immigration system so that we’re reuniting families and attracting the highly-skilled entrepreneurs and engineers who will help our economy grow.

So there are a lot of reasons to feel optimistic about where we’re headed as a country – especially after all we’ve fought through together. We’ve just got to keep going. Because we’ve got more good jobs to create. We’ve got more kids to educate. We’ve got more doors of opportunity to open for anyone who’s willing to work hard enough to walk through those doors.

And if we work together, I’m as confident as I’ve ever been that we’ll get to where we need to be.

Thanks and have a great weekend.”

Source: http://1.usa.gov/15nT2H4

“We’re not going to stop working on behalf of the American people.”

President Obama’s first Cabinet meeting of his second term:

The President:

“Obviously, we’re going to be spending some time talking about the potential impact of the sequester on all the agencies and missions across the board. It is an area of deep concern and I think everybody knows where I stand on this issue….

And so I will continue to seek out partners on the other side of the aisle so that we can create the kind of balanced approach of spending cuts, revenues, entitlement reform that everybody knows is the right way to do things….

Now, my agenda obviously is broader than just the sequester, because I laid out both in the inauguration and during the State of the Union a very robust agenda to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to grow this economy and to help families thrive and expand their opportunities. We want to make sure we’ve got a growing middle class and more ladders of opportunity into the middle class.

So in addition to talking about budget issues, we’re also going to spend some time talking about making sure that we have comprehensive immigration reform done. And I want to again thank members of Congress who on a bipartisan basis are moving forward on that agenda. We’re going to have the opportunity to talk about initiatives like early childhood education that can have an enormous impact on our kids and, ultimately, our growth and productivity. We’ll have a chance to hear from Joe and other members of the Cabinet about progress in reducing gun violence in this country.

So one of the things that I’ve instructed not just my White House but every agency is to make sure that, regardless of some of the challenges that they may face because of sequestration, we’re not going to stop working on behalf of the American people to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to continue to grow this economy and improve people’s prospects.”

Full remarks here: http://1.usa.gov/12p5ybg

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