Full Text Political Transcripts January 25, 2017: President Trump’s Remarks at Department of Homeland Security

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

TRUMP PRESIDENCY & 115TH CONGRESS:

President Trump’s Remarks at Department of Homeland Security

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Full Text Obama Presidency February 4, 2015: President Barack Obama Remarks in Meeting with DREAMers

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President in Meeting with DREAMers

Source: WH,  2-4-15

Oval Office

11:47 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I’ve just had a chance to meet with these six wonderful young people who represent the very best that this country has to offer.  And what sets them apart is that they all came here, were brought here by their parents, and up until recently have had a very difficult situation because of their immigration status.

The stories you hear from these young people are parents who aspired for a better life for their children; these folks coming here at the age of four months, or seven months, or 9-year-olds or 10-year-olds, oftentimes not realizing that their status was any different than their classmates and their friends and their neighbors.  In some cases, they didn’t discover until they were about to go to college that there was a difference that might prevent them from giving back to their community and their country.

And because of the executive actions that we took with respect to DREAM Act kids, and because of the executive actions that I announced late last year with respect to many of their parents, what I’ve heard is life is transformed.  Young people who didn’t think it would be possible for themselves to go to college suddenly are going to college.  Young people who didn’t think that it might be possible to start a business suddenly find themselves in a position to look at starting a business.  Young people who have memories of their mothers weeping because they couldn’t go to the funeral of their parent now have seen the prospect, the hope, that their lives can stabilize and normalize in some way.

I don’t think there’s anybody in America who’s had a chance to talk to these six young people who or the young DREAMers all across the country who wouldn’t find it in their heart to say these kids are Americans just like us and they belong here and we want to do right by them.

And so often in this immigration debate it’s an abstraction and we don’t really think about the human consequences of our positions.  And part of the reason that I wanted to hear from these young people today, and part of the reason why I’ve heard from young DREAMers in the past is because it’s a constant reminder to me of why this is important.

Now, the House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would have these six young people deported.  I think that’s wrong.  And I think most Americans would think it was wrong if they had a chance to meet these young people.  And legislation is going to be going to the Senate that, again, tries to block these executive actions.  I want to be as clear as possible:  I will veto any legislation that got to my desk that took away the chance of these young people who grew up here and who are prepared to contribute to this country that would prevent them from doing so.  And I am confident that I can uphold that veto.

So as we move forward in this debate over the next several months, the next year, the next year and a half, I would call on members of Congress to think about all the talent that is already in this country, that is already working in many cases, is already making contributions — in some cases, are joining up in our military, or are already starting businesses, are already attending school — and let’s be true to our tradition as a nation of immigrants and as a nation of laws.

My strong preference is going to be to pass comprehensive immigration reform.  And I know that there are Republicans out there who want to pass comprehensive immigration reform.  In the Senate, they’ve shown that they are prepared to do the right thing.  And rather than continue trying to go back to a system that everybody acknowledges was broken, let’s move forward with the incredible promise that these young people represent.

The last point I’ll make:  There have been suggestions that we will not fund the Department of Homeland Security, which is responsible for patrolling our borders, as well as keeping our air travel safe, as well as patrolling our coasts — there’s been talk about not funding that department because of the disagreement around immigration reform.  There’s no logic to that position.  Particularly for Republicans who claim that they are interested in strong border security, why would you cut off your nose to spite your face by defunding the very operations that are involved in making sure that we’ve got strong border security, particularly at a time when we’ve got real concerns about countering terrorism?

So my strong suggestion would be that Congress go ahead, fund the Department of Homeland Security.  We’re doing a tremendous amount of work at the borders.  The concerns that people had about unaccompanied children tragically traveling from Central America, that spike has now diminished.  We are below the levels that we were two years ago.  We are working diligently with the Central American countries to make sure that young people there have hope and that their parents are getting a clear message of not sending them on this extraordinarily dangerous journey.

Let’s make sure the Department of Homeland Security is properly funded, we’re doing the right things at the borders, we’re doing the right things with respect to our airports.  And then let’s get back to first principles; and remind ourselves that each of these young people here are going to be doing incredible things on behalf of this country.

And to all the DREAMers who are out there and all those who qualify for my executive action moving forward, I want you to know that I am confident in my ability to implement this program over the next two years, and I’m confident that the next President and the next Congress and the American people will ultimately recognize why this is the right thing to do.  So I’m going to want all of you to get information so you can sign up if you qualify as well.  All right?

Thank you very much, everybody.  And thank you, guys, for sharing your incredible stories.

END
11:56 A.M. EST

Full Text Obama Presidency February 2, 2015: President Barack Obama’s Speech Unveiling the FY2016 Budget

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President on the FY2016 Budget

Source: WH, 2-2-15

Department of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C.

11:27 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you so much.  (Applause.)  Thank you, everybody.  Please, have a seat.  Well, good morning, everybody.   It is good to be here at the Department of Homeland Security.  And let me thank Jeh Johnson not only for the outstanding job that’s he’s doing as Secretary of DHS, but also for a short introduction.  I like short introductions.  (Laughter.)  Give him a big round of applause.  (Applause.)

This is a great way to start the week, because I get to do something I enjoy doing, which is saying thank you.  Nobody works harder to keep America safe than the people who are gathered here today.  And you don’t get a lot of attention for it — that’s the nature of the job.  But I know how vital you are, and I want to make that sure more Americans know how vital you are.  Because against just about every threat that we face — from terrorist networks to microscopic viruses to cyber-attacks to weather disasters — you guys are there.  You protect us from threats at home and abroad, by air and land and sea.  You safeguard our ports, you patrol our borders.  You inspect our chemical plants, screen travelers for Ebola, shield our computer networks, and help hunt down criminals around the world.  You have a busy agenda, a full plate.  And here at home, you are ready to respond to any emergency at a moment’s notice.

It is simply extraordinary how much the Department of Homeland Security does every single day to keep our nation, our people safe.  It’s a critical job, and you get it done without a lot of fanfare.  And I want to make sure that you have what you need to keep getting the job done.  Every American has an interest in making sure that the Department of Homeland Security has what it needs to achieve its mission — because we are reliant on that mission every single day.

Now, today, I’m sending Congress a budget that will make sure you’ve got what you need to achieve your mission.  It gives you the resources you need to carry out your mission in a way that is smart and strategic, and makes the most of every dollar.  It’s also a broader blueprint for America’s success in this new global economy.  Because after a breakthrough year for America — at a time when our economy is growing and our businesses are creating jobs at the fastest pace since the 1990s, and wages are starting to rise again — we’ve got some fundamental choices to make about the kind of country we want to be.

Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well?  Or are we going to build an economy where everyone who works hard has a chance to get ahead?

And that was the focus of my State of the Union Address a couple weeks ago — what I called middle-class economics.  The idea that this country does best when everybody gets a fair shot, and everybody is doing their fair share, and everybody plays by the same set of rules.

The budget that Congress now has in its hands is built on those values.  It helps working families’ paychecks go farther by treating things like paid sick leave and childcare as the economic priorities that they are.  It gives Americans of every age the chance to upgrade their skills so they can earn higher wages, and it includes my plan to make two years of community college free for responsible students.  It lets us keep building the world’s most attractive economy for high-wage jobs, with new investments in research, and infrastructure and manufacturing, as well as expanded access to faster Internet and new markets for goods made in America.

It’s also a budget that recognizes that our economy flourishes when America is safe and secure.  So it invests in our IT networks, to protect them from malicious actors.  It supports our troops and strengthens our border security.  And it gives us the resources to confront global challenges, from ISIL to Russian aggression.

Now, since I took office, we have cut our deficits by about two-thirds.  I’m going to repeat that, as I always do when I mention this fact, because the public oftentimes, if you ask them, thinks that the deficit has shot up.  Since I took office, we have cut our deficits by about two-thirds.  That’s the fastest period of sustained deficit reduction since after the demobilization at the end of World War II.  So we can afford to make these investments while remaining fiscally responsible.  And, in fact, we cannot afford — we would be making a critical error if we avoided making these investments.  We can’t afford not to.  When the economy is doing well, we’re making investments when we’re growing.  That’s part of what keeps deficits low — because the economy is doing well.  So we’ve just got to be smarter about how we pay for our priorities, and that’s what my budget does.

At the end of 2013, I signed a bipartisan budget agreement that helped us end some of the arbitrary cuts known in Washington-speak as “sequestration.”  And folks here at DHS know a little too much about sequestration — (laughter) — because many of you have to deal with those cuts, and it made it a lot harder for you to do your jobs.

The 2013 agreement to reverse some of those cuts helped to boost our economic growth.  Part of the reason why we grew faster last year was we were no longer being burdened by mindless across-the-board cuts, and we were being more strategic about how we handled our federal budget.  And now we need to take the next step.  So my budget will end sequestration and fully reverse the cuts to domestic priorities in 2016.  And it will match the investments that were made domestically, dollar for dollar, with increases in our defense funding.

And just last week, top military officials told Congress that if Congress does nothing to stop sequestration, there could be serious consequences for our national security, at a time when our military is stretched on a whole range of issues.  And that’s why I want to work with Congress to replace mindless austerity with smart investments that strengthen America.  And we can do so in a way that is fiscally responsible.

I’m not going to accept a budget that locks in sequestration going forward.  It would be bad for our security and bad for our growth.  I will not accept a budget that severs the vital link between our national security and our economic security.  I know there’s some on Capitol Hill who would say, well, we’d be willing to increase defense spending but we’re not going to increase investments in infrastructure, for example, or basic research.  Well, those two things go hand in hand.  If we don’t have a vital infrastructure, if we don’t have broadband lines across the country, if we don’t have a smart grid, all that makes us more vulnerable.  America can’t afford being shortsighted, and I’m not going to allow it.

The budget I’ve sent to Congress today is fully paid for, through a combination of smart spending cuts and tax reforms.  Let me give you an example.  Right now, our tax code is full of loopholes for special interests — like the trust fund loophole that allows the wealthiest Americans to avoid paying taxes on their unearned income.  I think we should fix that and use the savings to cut taxes for middle-class families.  That would be good for our economy.

Now, I know there are Republicans who disagree with my approach.  And I’ve said this before:  If they have other ideas for how we can keep America safe, grow our economy, while helping middle-class families feel some sense of economic security, I welcome their ideas.  But their numbers have to add up.  And what we can’t do is play politics with folks’ economic security, or with our national security.  You, better than anybody, know what the stakes are.  The work you do hangs in the balance.

In just a few weeks from now, funding for Homeland Security will run out.  That’s not because of anything this department did, it’s because the Republicans in Congress who funded everything in government through September, except for this department.  And they’re now threatening to let Homeland Security funding expire because of their disagreeing with my actions to make our immigration system smarter, fairer and safer.

Now let’s be clear, I think we can have a reasonable debate about immigration.  I’m confident that what we’re doing is the right thing and the lawful thing.  I understand they may have some disagreements with me on that, although I should note that a large majority — or a large percentage of Republicans agree that we need comprehensive immigration reform, and we’re prepared to act in the Senate and should have acted in the House.  But if they don’t agree with me, that’s fine, that’s how our democracy works.  You may have noticed they usually don’t agree with me.  But don’t jeopardize our national security over this disagreement.

As one Republican put it, if they let your funding run out, “it’s not the end of the world.”  That’s what they said.  Well, I guess literally that’s true; it may not be the end of the world.  But until they pass a funding bill, it is the end of a paycheck for tens of thousands of frontline workers who will continue to get — to have to work without getting paid.  Over 40,000 Border Patrol and Customs agents.  Over 50,000 airport screeners.  Over 13,000 immigration officers.  Over 40,000 men and women in the Coast Guard.  These Americans aren’t just working to keep us safe, they have to take care of their own families.  The notion that they would get caught up in a disagreement around policy that has nothing to do with them makes no sense.

And if Republicans let Homeland Security funding expire, it’s the end to any new initiatives in the event that a new threat emerges.  It’s the end of grants to states and cities that improve local law enforcement and keep our communities safe.  The men and women of America’s homeland security apparatus do important work to protect us, and Republicans and Democrats in Congress should not be playing politics with that.

We need to fund the department, pure and simple.  We’ve got to put politics aside, pass a budget that funds our national security priorities at home and abroad, and gives middle-class families the security they need to get ahead in the new economy.  This is one of our most basic and most important responsibilities as a government.  So I’m calling on Congress to get this done.

Every day, we count on people like you to keep America secure.  And you are counting on us as well to uphold our end of the bargain.  You’re counting on us to make sure that you’ve got the resources to do your jobs safely and efficiently, and that you’re able to look after your families while you are out there working really hard to keep us safe.

We ask a lot of you.  The least we can do is have your backs.  That’s what I’m going to keep on doing for as long as I have the honor of serving as your President.  I have your back.  And I’m going to keep on fighting to make sure that you get the resources you deserve.  I’m going to keep fighting to make sure that every American has the chance not just to share in America’s success but to contribute to America’s success.  That’s what this budget is about.

It reflects our values in making sure that we are making the investments we need to keep America safe, to keep America growing, and to make sure that everybody is participating no matter what they look like, where they come from, no matter how they started in life, they’ve got a chance to get ahead in this great country of ours.  That’s what I believe.  That’s what you believe.  (Applause.)  Let’s get it done.

Thank you.  God bless you.  God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

END
11:43 A.M. EST

Full Text Obama Presidency July 4, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at Independence Day Naturalization Ceremony — Salutes 25 Soldiers Becoming Citizens

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES

President Obama Salutes New American Citizens

Source: WH, 7-4-12

President Obama at Naturalization Ceremony July 4, 2012
President Barack Obama listens as Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano administers the oath of allegiance during a military naturalization ceremony for active duty service members in the East Room of the White House, July 4, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama began his Independence Day celebrations by hosting a naturalization ceremony for active duty service members in the East Room of the White House. It was the third time the President has hosted this kind of service, and he told the audience, which included the families of the service members who were taking the oath of citizenship, that it is one of his favorite things to do. “It brings me great joy and inspiration because it reminds us that we are a country that is bound together not simply by ethnicity or bloodlines, but by fidelity to a set of ideas.”

Before the President gave his remarks, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas presented the countries of the candidates for naturalization and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano delivered the oath of allegiance.  President Obama told the new citizens that is was an honor to serve as their Commander in Chief, and to be the first to greet them as “my fellow Americans.”

With this ceremony today — and ceremonies like it across our country — we affirm another truth: Our American journey, our success, would simply not be possible without the generations of immigrants who have come to our shores from every corner of the globe.  We say it so often, we sometimes forget what it means — we are a nation of immigrants.  Unless you are one of the first Americans, a Native American, we are all descended from folks who came from someplace else — whether they arrived on the Mayflower or on a slave ship, whether they came through Ellis Island or crossed the Rio Grande.

Immigrants signed their names to our Declaration and helped win our independence.  Immigrants helped lay the railroads and build our cities, calloused hand by calloused hand.  Immigrants took up arms to preserve our union, to defeat fascism, and to win a Cold War.  Immigrants and their descendants helped pioneer new industries and fuel our Information Age, from Google to the iPhone.  So the story of immigrants in America isn’t a story of “them,” it’s a story of “us.”  It’s who we are.  And now, all of you get to write the next chapter.

You can read the transcript of the President’s full remarks here.

Remarks by the President at Naturalization Ceremony

East Room

10:58 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Good morning, everybody.

AUDIENCE:  Good morning, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT:  Secretary Napolitano, Director Mayorkas, distinguished guests, family and friends — welcome to the White House.  Happy Fourth of July.  What a perfect way to celebrate America’s birthday — the world’s oldest democracy, with some of our newest citizens.

I have to tell you, just personally, this is one of my favorite things to do.  It brings me great joy and inspiration because it reminds us that we are a country that is bound together not simply by ethnicity or bloodlines, but by fidelity to a set of ideas.  And as members of our military, you raised your hand and took an oath of service.  It is an honor for me to serve as your Commander-in-Chief.  Today, you raised your hand and have taken an oath of citizenship.  And I could not be prouder to be among the first to greet you as “my fellow Americans.”

Looking back, it was an act of extraordinary audacity — a few dozen delegates, in that hall in Philadelphia, daring to defy the mightiest empire in the world, declaring “that these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States.”

Two hundred and thirty-six years later, we marvel at America’s story.  From a string of 13 colonies to 50 states from sea to shining sea.  From a fragile experiment in democracy to a beacon of freedom that still lights the world.  From a society of farmers and merchants to the largest, most dynamic economy in the world.  From a ragtag army of militias and regulars to you — the finest military that the world has ever known.  From a population of some 3 million — free and slave — to more than 300 million Americans of every color and every creed.

With this ceremony today — and ceremonies like it across our country — we affirm another truth:  Our American journey, our success, would simply not be possible without the generations of immigrants who have come to our shores from every corner of the globe.  We say it so often, we sometimes forget what it means — we are a nation of immigrants.  Unless you are one of the first Americans, a Native American, we are all descended from folks who came from someplace else — whether they arrived on the Mayflower or on a slave ship, whether they came through Ellis Island or crossed the Rio Grande.

Immigrants signed their names to our Declaration and helped win our independence.  Immigrants helped lay the railroads and build our cities, calloused hand by calloused hand.  Immigrants took up arms to preserve our union, to defeat fascism, and to win a Cold War.  Immigrants and their descendants helped pioneer new industries and fuel our Information Age, from Google to the iPhone.  So the story of immigrants in America isn’t a story of “them,” it’s a story of “us.”  It’s who we are.  And now, all of you get to write the next chapter.

Each of you have traveled your own path to this moment — from Cameroon and the Philippines, Russia and Palau and places in between.  Some of you came here as children, brought by parents who dreamed of giving you the opportunities that they had never had.  Others of you came as adults, finding your way through a new country and a new culture and a new language.

All of you did something profound:  You chose to serve.  You put on the uniform of a country that was not yet fully your own. In a time of war, some of you deployed into harm’s way.  You displayed the values that we celebrate every Fourth of July — duty, responsibility, and patriotism.

We salute a husband and father, originally from Mexico, now a United States Marine, joined today by his wife Silvia and daughter Juliett.  Becoming a citizen, he says, is “another step in the right direction for my family.”  So today we congratulate Francisco Ballesteros De La Rosa.  Where’s Francisco?  (Applause.)

We salute a young woman from El Salvador, who came here when she was just six, grew up in America, who says she “always had a desire to serve” and who dreamed of becoming — who dreams of becoming an Army medic.  So we congratulate Luisa Childers.  Luisa.  (Applause.)

We salute a young man from Nigeria who came here as a child. “I left Nigeria,” he says, “with the dream that we all have a destiny in life and we are all born with the resources to make a difference.”  We are confident he will make a difference.  We congratulate Oluwatosin Akinduro.  (Applause.)

We salute a young man from Bolivia, who came to America, enlisted in our military and has volunteered to help care for our veterans.  He’s becoming a citizen, he says, to be a “part of the freedom that everybody is looking for.”  And so we congratulate Javier Beltran.  (Applause.)

It has taken these men and women — these Americans — years, even decades, to realize their dream.  And this, too, reminds us of a lesson of the Fourth.  On that July day, our Founders declared their independence.  But they only declared it; it would take another seven years to win the war.  Fifteen years to forge a Constitution and a Bill of Rights.  Nearly 90 years, and a great Civil War, to abolish slavery.  Nearly 150 years for women to win the right to vote.  Nearly 190 years to enshrine voting rights.  And even now, we’re still perfecting our union, still extending the promise of America.

That includes making sure the American dream endures for all those — like these men and women — who are willing to work hard, play by the rules and meet their responsibilities.  For just as we remain a nation of laws, we have to remain a nation of immigrants.  And that’s why, as another step forward, we’re lifting the shadow of deportation from serving — from deserving young people who were brought to this country as children.  It’s why we still need a DREAM Act — to keep talented young people who want to contribute to our society and serve our country.  It’s why we need — why America’s success demands — comprehensive immigration reform.

Because the lesson of these 236 years is clear — immigration makes America stronger.  Immigration makes us more prosperous.  And immigration positions America to lead in the 21st century.  And these young men and women are testaments to that.  No other nation in the world welcomes so many new arrivals.  No other nation constantly renews itself, refreshes itself with the hopes, and the drive, and the optimism, and the dynamism of each new generation of immigrants.  You are all one of the reasons that America is exceptional.  You’re one of the reasons why, even after two centuries, America is always young, always looking to the future, always confident that our greatest days are still to come.

So, to all of you, I want to wish you the happiest Fourth of July.  God bless you all.  God bless our men and women in uniform and your families.  And God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

And with that, I want you to join me in welcoming onto the stage one of America’s newest citizens.  Born in Guatemala, he enlisted in the Marine Corps, served with honor in Afghanistan.  And I know he’s especially proud because, in a few days, his father Walter — who’s also here today — will become a naturalized American citizen as well.  Where’s Walter?  There he is over there.  (Laughter.)  Good to see you, Walter.  (Applause.)  Please welcome, Lance Corporal Byron Acevedo to lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Right here.

MR. ACEVEDO:  I’m nervous.  (Laughter.)

(The Pledge of Allegiance is said.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, everybody.  Have a great Fourth of July.  Congratulations to our newest citizens.  Yay!  (Applause.)

END
11:09 A.M. EDT

Full Text Political Buzz June 15, 2012: President Barack Obama Announces US Will Stop Deporting Young Immigrants in Rose Garden Speech — GOP Candidate Mitt Romney Reacts

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES
& SPEECHES

President Barack Obama delivers remarks in the Rose Garden of the White House (June 15, 2012)

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the Department of Homeland Security’s immigration announcement in the Rose Garden of the White House, June 15, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

IN FOCUS: PRESIDENT OBAMA ANNOUNCES US WILL STOP DEPORTING YOUNG ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS — ROMNEY REACTS

U.S. will stop deporting some younger illegal immigrants: The Obama administration will stop deporting and begin giving work permits to younger illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children and have since led law-abiding lives, the AP reports. The election-year initiative addresses a top priority of a growing Latino electorate that has opposed administration deportation policies. The administration’s decision will affect as many as 800,000 immigrants…. – WaPo, 6-15-12

Transcript of Obama’s Speech on Immigration Policy: The full text of the president’s remarks on changes to immigration policy. – NYT, 6-15-12

  • US to Stop Deporting Some Illegal Immigrants: Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children will be able to obtain work permits and be safe from deportation under a new policy announced on Friday by the Obama administration…. – NYT, 6-15-12
  • Obama spares many young illegal immigrants deportation: Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who were brought into the United States as children will be able to avoid deportation and get work permits under an order on Friday by President Barack Obama… Reuters, 6-16-12
  • Obama policy to spare many youths from deportation: President Barack Obama eased enforcement of immigration laws Friday, offering a chance for hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants to stay in the country and work. Immediately embraced by Hispanics, the extraordinary step touched off…. – Fox News, 6-15-12
  • Mexicans hail Obama’s call for a freeze on deporting young illegal immigrants: Today, President Obama ordered his administration to stop deporting young immigrants who came to the US illegally as kids and don’t pose a security threat…. – CS Monitor, 6-15-12
  • Obama Says Changes to Deportation Rules Make Policy More Fair: President Barack Obama said the US will immediately stop deporting some illegal immigrants brought to the US as children and make them eligible for work permits, in an election-year effort with appeal to Latino voters…. – Bloomberg, San Francisco Chronicle, 6-15-12
  • President Obama limits deportations for some immigrants: Using his executive powers to go where Congress would not, President Obama delivered on a promise Friday and ordered his administration to stop deporting illegal immigrants who came to the US as children…. – LAT, 6-15-12
  • Obama tells young illegal immigrants they can stay: Order doesn’t offer citizenship but reprieve from deportation. Critics call it an overreach of executive power. Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants will get a chance to stay in the United States and work under a new policy announced Friday…. – Minneapolis Star Tribune, 6-15-12
  • DREAM ACT: We educated these children, shouldn’t they give back to our economy?: “This is not amnesty, this is not immunity. This is not a path to citizenship. It’s not a permanent fix. This is a temporary stopgap measure that lets us focus our resources wisely while giving a degree of relief and hope…. – Washington Times, 6-15-12
  • THE POLITICS OF IMMIGRATION: President Barack Obama announces that his administration will stop deporting and begin granting work permits to younger illegal immigrants who came to the US as children and have since led law-abiding lives, during a statement in the Rose Garden of the White House…. – Chicago Sun-Times, 6-15-12
  • Obama’s Immigration Shift Puts Pressure on Romney: President Obama’s unilateral shift on immigration policy is a signal to Hispanic voters that he is on their side, and a move that places Mitt Romney in a tough spot…. – NYT, 6-15-12
  • Romney says Obama’s immigration decision will complicate efforts to solve immmigration policy issue: Softening his rhetoric on immigration, likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said Friday that the status of younger illegal immigrants was important and should be addressed with legislation. He would not say if he would…. – WaPo, 6-15-12
  • Mitt Romney says Obama’s playing politics on immigration: Hours after the Obama administration announced that it would stop deporting some young illegal immigrants who came to the US as children, Mitt Romney suggested that the president was merely seeking a political advantage to secure a second term…. – LAT, 6-15-12
  • Young illegal immigrants’ amnesty could tighten competition for jobs, college: President Obama has just opened a floodgate of opportunity for young illegal immigrants in the United States, but could it squeeze the aspirations of legal Americans in the process?… – WaPo, 6-15-12

Obama Defends Immigrant Deportation Rules, Criticized as Political

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-15-12

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Obama flashed anger today as a reporter interrupted his speech on immigration in the Rose Garden.

Neil Munro of The Daily Caller, a conservative news site, shouted at Obama in the middle of his speech formally announcing looser deportation rules, “Why do you favor foreigners over American workers?”

Irritated, Obama glared at Munro and told him not to interrupt, said he “didn’t ask for an argument” and said the new order is “the right thing to do.”…READ MORE

President Obama Delivers Remarks on Immigration

Source: WH, 6-15-12

Speaking from the Rose Garden, President Obama addressed a new policy from the Department of Homeland Security aimed at making the nation’s immigration policy more fair and more efficient — by removing the threat of deportation for young people who are low enforcement priorities.
He said:

Over the next few months, eligible individuals who do not present a risk to national security or public safety will be able to request temporary relief from deportation proceedings and apply for work authorization.

Now, let’s be clear — this is not amnesty, this is not immunity.  This is not a path to citizenship.  It’s not a permanent fix. This is a temporary stopgap measure that lets us focus our resources wisely while giving a degree of relief and hope to talented, driven, patriotic young people.

Remarks by the President on Immigration

Rose Garden

2:09 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everybody.  This morning, Secretary Napolitano announced new actions my administration will take to mend our nation’s immigration policy, to make it more fair, more efficient, and more just — specifically for certain young people sometimes called “Dreamers.”

These are young people who study in our schools, they play in our neighborhoods, they’re friends with our kids, they pledge allegiance to our flag.  They are Americans in their heart, in their minds, in every single way but one:  on paper.  They were brought to this country by their parents — sometimes even as infants — and often have no idea that they’re undocumented until they apply for a job or a driver’s license, or a college scholarship.

Put yourself in their shoes.  Imagine you’ve done everything right your entire life — studied hard, worked hard, maybe even graduated at the top of your class — only to suddenly face the threat of deportation to a country that you know nothing about, with a language that you may not even speak.

That’s what gave rise to the DREAM Act.  It says that if your parents brought you here as a child, if you’ve been here for five years, and you’re willing to go to college or serve in our military, you can one day earn your citizenship.  And I have said time and time and time again to Congress that, send me the DREAM Act, put it on my desk, and I will sign it right away.

Now, both parties wrote this legislation.  And a year and a half ago, Democrats passed the DREAM Act in the House, but Republicans walked away from it.  It got 55 votes in the Senate, but Republicans blocked it.  The bill hasn’t really changed.  The need hasn’t changed.  It’s still the right thing to do.  The only thing that has changed, apparently, was the politics.

As I said in my speech on the economy yesterday, it makes no sense to expel talented young people, who, for all intents and purposes, are Americans — they’ve been raised as Americans; understand themselves to be part of this country — to expel these young people who want to staff our labs, or start new businesses, or defend our country simply because of the actions of their parents — or because of the inaction of politicians.

In the absence of any immigration action from Congress to fix our broken immigration system, what we’ve tried to do is focus our immigration enforcement resources in the right places.  So we prioritized border security, putting more boots on the southern border than at any time in our history — today, there are fewer illegal crossings than at any time in the past 40 years.  We focused and used discretion about whom to prosecute, focusing on criminals who endanger our communities rather than students who are earning their education.  And today, deportation of criminals is up 80 percent.  We’ve improved on that discretion carefully and thoughtfully.  Well, today, we’re improving it again.

Effective immediately, the Department of Homeland Security is taking steps to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people.  Over the next few months, eligible individuals who do not present a risk to national security or public safety will be able to request temporary relief from deportation proceedings and apply for work authorization.

Now, let’s be clear — this is not amnesty, this is not immunity.  This is not a path to citizenship.  It’s not a permanent fix.  This is a temporary stopgap measure that lets us focus our resources wisely while giving a degree of relief and hope to talented, driven, patriotic young people.  It is —

Q    (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT:  — the right thing to do.

Q    — foreigners over American workers.

THE PRESIDENT:  Excuse me, sir.  It’s not time for questions, sir.

Q    No, you have to take questions.

THE PRESIDENT:  Not while I’m speaking.

Precisely because this is temporary, Congress needs to act.  There is still time for Congress to pass the DREAM Act this year, because these kids deserve to plan their lives in more than two-year increments.  And we still need to pass comprehensive immigration reform that addresses our 21st century economic and security needs — reform that gives our farmers and ranchers certainty about the workers that they’ll have.  Reform that gives our science and technology sectors certainty that the young people who come here to earn their PhDs won’t be forced to leave and start new businesses in other countries.  Reform that continues to improve our border security, and lives up to our heritage as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.

Just six years ago, the unlikely trio of John McCain, Ted Kennedy and President Bush came together to champion this kind of reform.  And I was proud to join 23 Republicans in voting for it.  So there’s no reason that we can’t come together and get this done.

And as long as I’m President, I will not give up on this issue, not only because it’s the right thing to do for our economy — and CEOs agree with me — not just because it’s the right thing to do for our security, but because it’s the right thing to do, period.  And I believe that, eventually, enough Republicans in Congress will come around to that view as well.

And I believe that it’s the right thing to do because I’ve been with groups of young people who work so hard and speak with so much heart about what’s best in America, even though I knew some of them must have lived under the fear of deportation.  I know some have come forward, at great risks to themselves and their futures, in hopes it would spur the rest of us to live up to our own most cherished values.  And I’ve seen the stories of Americans in schools and churches and communities across the country who stood up for them and rallied behind them, and pushed us to give them a better path and freedom from fear –because we are a better nation than one that expels innocent young kids.

And the answer to your question, sir — and the next time I’d prefer you let me finish my statements before you ask that question — is this is the right thing to do for the American people —

Q    (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT:  I didn’t ask for an argument.  I’m answering your question.

Q    I’d like to —

THE PRESIDENT:  It is the right thing to do —

Q    (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT:  — for the American people.  And here’s why —

Q    — unemployment —

THE PRESIDENT:  Here’s the reason:  because these young people are going to make extraordinary contributions, and are already making contributions to our society.

I’ve got a young person who is serving in our military, protecting us and our freedom.  The notion that in some ways we would treat them as expendable makes no sense.  If there is a young person here who has grown up here and wants to contribute to this society, wants to maybe start a business that will create jobs for other folks who are looking for work, that’s the right thing to do.  Giving certainty to our farmers and our ranchers; making sure that in addition to border security, we’re creating a comprehensive framework for legal immigration — these are all the right things to do.

We have always drawn strength from being a nation of immigrants, as well as a nation of laws, and that’s going to continue.  And my hope is that Congress recognizes that and gets behind this effort.

All right.  Thank you very much.

Q    What about American workers who are unemployed while you import foreigners?

END
2:17 P.M. EDT

 

Adviser Suggests Romney Will Focus on Economy, Not Immigration

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-15-12

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

President Obama’s announcement that he will ease deportation for the children of some illegal immigrants underscores an area where Mitt Romney was to the right of most of his primary opponents.

While Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich both endorsed pathways to legal residency for some illegal immigrants, Romney never did.

Romney has not yet reacted to the news Friday from President Obama that he will no longer pursue the deportation of many young undocumented citizens that came to this country as children by their parents….READ MORE

But campaign adviser Kevin Madden suggested he won’t be distracted by this issue and will instead remain “focus(ed) very intently on the issue of the economy.”

“I think the message that he has to Latino voters, Hispanic voters, is going to be related to what he can do to put the country on the right track and how it’s going to help, how it’s going to help folks who want more opportunity in this country,” Madden said on MSNBC Friday just before the president made the announcement in the Rose Garden….READ MORE

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