In this week's address, President Obama says that the United States Senate will soon take action to fix our broken immigration system with a commonsense bill, and urges lawmakers to act quickly to pass this bill so that we can continue to live up to our traditions as a nation of laws, and also a nation of immigrants.
"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"But for years, our out-of-date immigration system has actually harmed our economy and threatened our security."
Obama pointed to improvements made to the system over the past four years, beefed-up border security, better use of technology, more effective deportation of criminals and focusing on the cause of what he called the "Dreamers," the young people brought here as children. But more comprehensive action is desperately needed. That's why, he said, the proposed legislation next week is so necessary, even if imperfect.
"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."
The president explained what the bill would do if enacted is to further strengthen border security, increase penalties for smugglers and traffickers, more accountability for employers, outline a pathway to citizenship for those already here, and have provisions to attract high-skilled immigrants.
He warns, however, that there will be some that will fight reform and try to "stoke fear and create division," then closing his address urgin listeners to contact their lawmakers and demand support for modernizing the immigration system, and to resist the call to disunity.
"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."