11:26 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: I want to thank my fellow Americans for joining me today
to discuss a very important issue, and that is immigration.
In my discussions I've talked to clergy that recognize that our country
needs a comprehensive immigration reform, and part of that is to help
people learn English. I've talked to people who work for corporate
America -- Andy works for Marriott International, a corporation that
understands that it's very helpful, it's in their interest to help
I've talked to Emilio, who works for the government, he's the head of
the old INS, U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services. He has the
opportunity often to swear in new citizens, and he sees the great -- the
great hope that people have. I've talked to church workers who are
reaching out in their communities to help people learn the benefits of
the language, the English language. And thank you for tutoring and
I've talked to people that are raising families that have come from
other countries, that are now U.S. citizens and understand the benefit
of what it means to have learned English. Francisco said, when you
learn English, doors open up for you. And I appreciate that beautiful
sentiment, because it's true.
I strongly support comprehensive immigration reform. One aspect of
comprehensive immigration reform is to help people assimilate into
America. Part of that is to have a comprehensive strategy to help
people learn the English language and to learn the history and
traditions of the United States. Comprehensive immigration reform
requires us to uphold law and enforce our borders in a humane way.
Comprehensive immigration reform means that you need a temporary worker
program for workers who will be coming into our country. It's a program
that treats people with respect, a program that helps meet the economic
needs of our country. Comprehensive immigration reform means that
employers would have to obey the law. Comprehensive immigration reform
means that we've got to be humane about the nearly 11 or 12 million
people who are already here. As I said in a speech down in Miami, we
need to treat these people not with amnesty, and not with animosity. So
it's got to be a rational way forward.
I'm looking forward to working with both Democrats and Republicans to
get a comprehensive immigration bill done this year. We have a good
chance to get it done. It's important for our fellow citizens to
understand comprehensive immigration reform is in the nation's interest.
And I'll continue working with members of Congress to encourage them to
do the hard work necessary to make sure a system that is not working is
reformed in a way that meets our national needs and listens to our
national heart. After all, America is a land of immigrants.
Immigration helps renew our soul. It helps redefine our spirit in a
And I'm so proud to be with you and I thank you for your time.
END 11:29 A.M. EDT
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