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TRANSCRIPT: Pres. Obama's Immigration Reform Speech | NumbersUSA - For Lower Immigration Levels

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TRANSCRIPT: Pres. Obama's Immigration Reform Speech

Pres. Obama

Pres. Obama

Pres. Obama gave the following speech at American University in Washington, D.C. on Thursday morning. The President called for 'comprehensive reform' that includes an amnesty for the nation's 11-18 million illegal aliens, resources for securing the border, an easier way for foreign nationals to come to the United States, and a crack down on employers who hire illegal aliens.

Read the response from the Reclaim American Jobs Caucus

 

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  Thank you.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Everyone please have a seat.  Thank you very much.  Let me thank Pastor Hybels from near my hometown in Chicago, who took time off his vacation to be here today.  We are blessed to have him.

I want to thank President Neil Kerwin and our hosts here at American University; acknowledge my outstanding Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis, and members of my administration; all the members of Congress -- Hilda deserves applause.  (Applause.)  To all the members of Congress, the elected officials, faith and law enforcement, labor, business leaders and immigration advocates who are here today -- thank you for your presence.

I want to thank American University for welcoming me to the campus once again.  Some may recall that the last time I was here I was joined by a dear friend, and a giant of American politics, Senator Edward Kennedy.  (Applause.)  Teddy’s not here right now, but his legacy of civil rights and health care and worker protections is still with us.

I was a candidate for President that day, and some may recall I argued that our country had reached a tipping point; that after years in which we had deferred our most pressing problems, and too often yielded to the politics of the moment, we now faced a choice:  We could squarely confront our challenges with honesty and determination, or we could consign ourselves and our children to a future less prosperous and less secure. 

I believed that then and I believe it now.  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 refocused our efforts in Afghanistan, my administration has refused to ignore some of the fundamental challenges facing this generation.

We launched the most aggressive education reforms in decades, so that our children can gain the knowledge and skills they need to compete in a 21st century global economy.

We have finally delivered on the promise of health reform -– reform that will bring greater security to every American, and that will rein in the skyrocketing costs that threaten families, businesses and the prosperity of our nation.

We’re on the verge of reforming 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 severe recession.

And we’re 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 that 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, despite the polarization and the frequent pettiness of our politics, we are confronting the great challenges of our times.  And while this work isn’t easy, 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 road. 

Immigration reform is no exception.  In recent days, the issue of immigration has become once more a source of fresh contention in our country, with the passage of a controversial law in Arizona and the heated reactions we’ve seen across America.  Some have rallied behind this new policy.  Others have protested and launched boycotts of the state.  And everywhere, people have 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 immigrants -- a nation that welcomes those willing to embrace America’s precepts.  Indeed, it is this constant flow of immigrants that helped to make America what it is.  The scientific breakthroughs of Albert Einstein, the inventions of Nikola Tesla, the great ventures of Andrew Carnegie’s U.S. Steel and Sergey Brin’s Google, Inc. -– all this was possible because of immigrants.

And then there are the countless names and the quiet acts that never made the history books but were no less consequential in building this country -- the generations who braved hardship and great risk to reach our shores in search of a better life for themselves and their families; the millions of people, ancestors to most of us, who believed that there was a place where they could be, at long last, free to work and worship and live their lives in peace. 

So this steady stream of hardworking and talented people has made America the engine of the global economy and a beacon of hope around the world.  And it’s allowed us to adapt and thrive in the face of technological and societal change.  To this day, America reaps incredible economic rewards because we remain a magnet for the best and brightest from across the globe.  Folks travel here in the hopes of being a part of a culture of entrepreneurship and ingenuity, and by doing so they strengthen and enrich that culture.  Immigration also means we have a younger workforce -– and a faster-growing economy -- than many of our competitors.  And in an increasingly interconnected world, the diversity of our country is a powerful advantage in global competition. 

Just a few weeks ago, we had an event of small business owners at the White House.  And one business owner was a woman named Prachee Devadas who came to this country, became a citizen, and opened up a successful technology services company.  When she started, she had 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 Perla Ramos -- born and raised in Mexico, came to the United States shortly after 9/11, and she eventually joined the Navy.  And she said, “I take pride in our flag and the history that forged this great nation and the history we write day by day.”

These women, and men and women across this country like them, remind us that immigrants have always helped to build and defend this country -– and that being an 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 dear.  That’s what makes us unique.  That’s what makes us strong.  Anybody can help us write the next great chapter in our history. 

Now, we can’t forget that this process of immigration and eventual inclusion has often been painful.  Each new wave of immigrants has generated fear and resentments towards newcomers, particularly in times of economic upheaval.  Our founding was rooted in the notion that America was unique as a place of refuge and freedom for, in Thomas Jefferson’s words, “oppressed humanity.”  But the ink on our Constitution was barely dry when, amidst conflict, Congress passed the Alien and Sedition Acts, which placed harsh restrictions of those suspected of having foreign 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 and deported from Angel Island in the San Francisco Bay.  They didn’t even get to come in.

So the politics of who is and who is not allowed to enter this country, and on what terms, has always been contentious.  And that remains true today.  And it’s made worse by a failure of those of us in Washington to fix a broken immigration system. 

To begin with, our borders have been porous 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 country as visitors, large numbers avoid immigration laws simply by overstaying their visas.

The result is an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.  The overwhelming majority of these men and women are simply seeking a better life for themselves and their children.  Many settle in low-wage sectors of the economy; they work hard, they save, 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 worker safety rules -– thereby putting companies who follow those rules, and Americans who rightly demand the minimum wage or overtime, at an unfair [dis]advantage.  Crimes go unreported as victims and witnesses fear coming forward.  And this makes it harder for the police to catch violent criminals and keep neighborhoods safe.  And billions in tax revenue are lost each year because many undocumented workers are paid under the table.

     More fundamentally, the presence of so many illegal immigrants makes a mockery of all those who are going through the process of immigrating legally.  Indeed, after years of patchwork fixes and ill-conceived revisions, the legal immigration system is as broken as the borders.  Backlogs and bureaucracy means the process can take years.  While an applicant waits for approval, he or she is often forbidden from visiting the United States –- which means even husbands and wives may be forced to spend many years apart.  High fees and the need for lawyers may exclude worthy applicants.  And while we provide students from around the world visas to get engineering and computer science degrees at 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.  Instead of training entrepreneurs to create jobs on our shores, we train our competition.

In sum, the system is broken.  And everybody knows it.  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 and emotional issue is inherently bad politics. 

Just a few years ago, when I was a senator, we forged a bipartisan coalition in favor of comprehensive reform.  Under the leadership of Senator Kennedy, who had been 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 partisanship and election-year politics, many of the 11 Republican senators who voted for reform in the past have now backed away from their previous support. 

Into this breach, states like Arizona have decided to take matters into their own hands.  Given the levels of frustration across the country, this is understandable.  But it is also ill conceived.  And it’s not just that the law Arizona passed is divisive -– although it has fanned the flames of an already contentious debate.  Laws like Arizona’s put huge pressures on local law enforcement to enforce rules that 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 more dangerous and the jobs of our police officers more difficult. 

And you don’t have to take my word for this.  You can speak to the police chiefs and others from law enforcement here today who will tell you the same thing. 

These laws also have the potential of violating the rights of innocent American citizens and legal residents, making them subject to possible stops or questioning because of what they look like or how they sound.  And as other states and localities go their own ways, we face the prospect that 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 needed. 

Our task then is to make our national laws actually work -– to shape a system that reflects our values as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.  And that means being honest about the problem, and getting past the false debates that divide the country rather than bring it together.

For example, there are those in the immigrants’ rights community who have argued passionately that we should simply provide those who are [here] illegally with legal status, or at least ignore the laws on the books and put an end to deportation until we have better laws.  And often this argument is framed in moral terms:  Why should we punish people who are just trying to earn a living? 

I recognize the sense of compassion that drives this argument, but I believe such an indiscriminate approach would be both unwise and unfair.  It would suggest to those thinking about coming here illegally that there will be no repercussions for such a decision.  And this could lead to a surge in more illegal immigration.  And it would also ignore the millions of people around the world who are waiting in line to come here legally. 

Ultimately, our nation, like all nations, has the right and obligation to control its borders and set laws for residency and citizenship.  And no matter how decent they are, no matter their reasons, the 11 million who broke these laws should be held accountable.

Now, if the majority of Americans are skeptical of a blanket amnesty, they are also skeptical that it is possible to round up and deport 11 million people.  They know it’s not possible.  Such an effort would be logistically impossible and wildly expensive.  Moreover, it would tear at the very fabric of this nation -– because immigrants who are here illegally are now intricately woven into that fabric.  Many have children who are American citizens.  Some are children themselves, brought here by their parents at a very young age, growing up as American kids, only to discover their illegal status when they apply for college or a job.  Migrant workers -– 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 intolerable. 

Now, once we get past the two poles of this debate, it becomes possible to shape a practical, common-sense approach that reflects our heritage and our values.  Such an approach demands accountability from everybody -– from government, from businesses and from individuals. 

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 our enforcement policy without having to wait for a new law. 

Today, we have more boots on the ground near the Southwest border than at any time in our history.  Let me repeat that:  We have more boots on the ground on the Southwest border than at any time in our history.  We doubled 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 percent of southbound rail shipments.  And as a result, we’re seizing 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 reflect a significant reduction in the number of people trying to cross the border illegally. 

So the bottom line is this:  The southern border is more secure today than at any time in the past 20 years.  That doesn’t mean we don’t have more work to do.  We have to do that work, but it’s important that we acknowledge the facts.  Even as we are committed to doing what’s necessary to secure our borders, even without passage of the new law, there are those who argue that we should not move forward with any other elements of reform until we have fully sealed our borders.  But our borders are just too vast for us to be able to solve the problem 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 gangs and potential terrorists, but also the 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 workplace offenders.  And we’re implementing and improving a system to give employers a reliable way to verify that their employees are here legally.  But 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.  It breeds abuse and bad practices.  It punishes employers who act responsibly and undercuts American workers.  And ultimately, if the demand for undocumented workers falls, the incentive for people to come here illegally will decline as well.   

Finally, we have to demand responsibility from people living here illegally.  They must be required to admit that they broke the law.  They should be required to register, pay their taxes, pay a fine, and learn English.  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 it will make clear to those who might wish to come to America they must do so inside the bounds of the law, but because this is how we demonstrate that being -- what being an American means.  Being a citizen of this country comes not only with rights but also with certain fundamental responsibilities.  We can create a pathway for legal status that is fair, reflective of our values, and works.

     Now, stopping illegal immigration must go hand in hand with reforming our creaky system of legal immigration.  We’ve begun to do that, by eliminating a backlog in background checks that at one point stretched back almost a year.  That’s just for the background check.  People can now track the status of their immigration applications by email or text message.  We’ve improved accountability and safety in the detention system.  And we’ve stemmed the increases in naturalization fees.  But here, too, we need to do more.  We should make it easier for the best and the brightest to come to start businesses and develop products and create jobs. 

Our laws should respect families following the rules -– instead of splitting them apart.  We need to provide farms a legal way to hire the workers they rely on, 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 earn an 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 as a state legislator and as a U.S. senator -- and why I continue to support it as president.

So these are the essential elements of comprehensive immigration reform.  The question now is whether we will have the courage and the political will to pass a bill through Congress, to finally get it done.  Last summer, I held a meeting with leaders of both parties, including many of the Republicans who had supported reform in the past -- and some who hadn’t.  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.  I’ve spoken with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to plot the way forward and meet -- and then I met with them earlier this week. 

And I’ve spoken with representatives from a growing coalition of labor unions and business groups, immigrant advocates and community organizations, law enforcement, local government -– all who recognize the importance of immigration reform.  And I’ve met with leaders from America’s religious communities, like Pastor Hybels -- people of different faiths and beliefs, some liberal, some conservative, who nonetheless share a sense of urgency; who understand that fixing our broken immigration system is not only a political issue, not just an economic issue, but a moral imperative as well. 

So we’ve made progress.  I’m ready to move forward; the majority of Democrats are ready to move forward; and I believe the majority of Americans are ready to move forward.  But the fact is, without bipartisan support, as we had just a few years ago, we cannot solve this problem.  Reform that 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 if members of both parties are willing to take responsibility for solving this problem once and for all. 

And, yes, this is an emotional question, and one that lends itself to demagoguery.  Time and again, this issue has been used to divide and inflame -– and to demonize people.  And so the understandable, the natural impulse among those who run for office is 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, President Bush -– this has been the custom.  That is why a broken and dangerous system that offends our most basic American values is still in place.

But I believe we can put politics aside and finally have an immigration system that’s accountable.  I believe we can appeal not to people’s fears but to their hopes, to their highest ideals, because that’s who we are as Americans.  It’s been inscribed on our nation’s seal since we declared our independence.  “E pluribus unum.”  Out of many, one.  That is what has drawn the persecuted and impoverished 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 opportunity.  That’s what has led people to endure untold hardships to reach this place called America. 

     One of the largest waves of immigration in our history took place little more than a century ago.  At the time, Jewish people were being driven out of Eastern Europe, often escaping to the sounds of gunfire and the light from their villages burning to the ground.  The journey could take months, as families crossed rivers in the dead of night, traveled miles by foot, endured a rough and dangerous passage over the North Atlantic.  Once here, many made their homes in a teeming and bustling Lower Manhattan. 

It was at this time that a young woman named Emma Lazarus, whose own family fled persecution from Europe generations earlier, took up the cause of these new immigrants.  Although she was a poet, she spent much of her time advocating for better health care and housing for the newcomers.  And inspired by what she saw and heard, she wrote down her thoughts and donated a piece of work to help pay for the construction of a new statue -- the Statue of Liberty -- which actually was funded in part by small donations from people across America. 

Years before the statue was built -- years before it would be seen by throngs of immigrants craning their necks skyward at the end of long and brutal voyage, years before it would come to symbolize everything that we cherish -- she imagined what it could mean.  She imagined the sight of a giant statue at the entry point of a great nation -– but unlike the great monuments of the past, this would not signal an empire.  Instead, it would signal one’s arrival to a place of opportunity and refuge and freedom. 

“Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand,” she wrote,

A mighty woman with a torch…
From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome…
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!”…
“Give me your tired, and your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to be free…
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Let us remember these words.  For it falls on each generation to ensure that that lamp -– that beacon -– continues to shine as a source of hope around the world, and a source of our prosperity here at home. 

Thank you.  God bless you.  And may God bless the United States of America.  Thank you. 

 

Reports

Border Patrol Immigration Reform Plan

Reports - Friday, March 4, 2011

The National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers (NAFBPO) is a national, non-profit, public interest organization of concerned citizens. Our ranks include officers who spent their careers on the Canadian and Mexican borders, in Florida, on the Gulf Coast, in Puerto Rico, and in foreign lands enduring discomfort and danger as they worked to protect and serve our nation. Many of us went on to high positions in the Border Patrol or its parent organization, the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Now, though we are retired we recall our oath of office and we share a common bond and heritage with our brothers and sisters who still serve our country as members of the Department of Homeland Security. With that oath and bond in mind, we submit to you A Proposal for Comprehensive Immigration Enforcement and Reform.

Download Publication

Quotes

Sen. LeMeiux (R-Fla.) - Secure the Borders

Quotes - Wednesday, September 9, 2009

LeMieux appears likely to steer clear of Martinez's controversial attempts to overhaul immigration law, which would include a path to citizenship for the undocumented. "We need to secure our borders," LeMieux said. "After we do that, we can figure what happens to people already here."

By William E. Gibson -- Sun (Ft. Lauderdale) Sentinel

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/florida/orl-lemieux-senate-090909,0,4035843.story

Sen. Bennet (D-Colo.) -- Favors Amnesty

Quotes - Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sen. Michael Bennet, potentially wading into a heated political debate a year before he runs for his first election, said Saturday he supports a path to citizenship for those in the country illegally.

Speaking at a news conference of four Colorado congressional Democrats touting efforts during Barack Obama's first 100 days in office and the new Congress, Bennet said a path to citizenship along with increased border enforcement should be part of comprehensive immigration reform.

'The current status quo is clearly unacceptable on so many levels,' Bennet said.

He said the path to citizenship should come with requirements, including completing education, learning English and holding a job….

…'Not withstanding all the demagoguery on the issue, this country needs to have comprehensive immigration reform,' Bennet said. 'The question is the timing, and that I can't answer today.' …

By P. Solomon Banda -- The Associated Press

http://www.gazette.com/articles/path_52456___article.html/bennet_supports.html

Sen. McCaskill (D-Mo.) -- Supports Dream

Quotes - Tuesday, April 7, 2009

…McCaskill, in turn, reaffirmed her longstanding argument that the best way to battle illegal immigration is to enforce stiff penalties on employers who knowingly hired illegals and, for example, "put 14 in a hotel room ...and pay them $200 in cash on Fridays" to work as roofing or lawn crews.

Such jobs are the real enticement for illegal immigrants and their disappearance is the best was to discourage it, the senator said.

However, McCaskill emphasized that she also had sympathy for some teenagers who had been brought to the United States as infants or toddlers by their illegal-immigrant parents. The teens (some who were unaware of their illegal status) now face deportation, because their status became known when they applied for college or the military.

By Jo Mannies -- St. Louis Beacon

…McCaskill, in turn, reaffirmed her longstanding argument that the best way to battle illegal immigration is to enforce stiff penalties on employers who knowingly hired illegals and, for example, "put 14 in a hotel room ...and pay them $200 in cash on Fridays" to work as roofing or lawn crews.

Such jobs are the real enticement for illegal immigrants and their disappearance is the best was to discourage it, the senator said.

However, McCaskill emphasized that she also had sympathy for some teenagers who had been brought to the United States as infants or toddlers by their illegal-immigrant parents. The teens (some who were unaware of their illegal status) now face deportation, because their status became known when they applied for college or the military.

"We have a heart-breaking example of young woman in mid-Missouri. Who's valedictorian of her class,'' McCaskill said. "Huge community leader in her church. Now having trouble staying the country because her parents didn't follow the rules.'' …

…"The DREAM Act is hard,'' McCaskill said. But she then added, "I will probably vote for the DREAM act. I didn't vote for it last time."

The difference with the new version is that it's tightly tailored to address only a limited number cases of illegal-immigrant teens who have been longtime U.S. residents and could be productive adult citizens, McCaskill said…

By Jo Mannies -- St. Louis Beacon

Show More http://www.stlbeacon.org/beacon_backroom/mccaskill_buffeted_by_immigration_woes_supports_trimmed-down_dream_bill

Sen. Kyl (R-Ariz.) -- Secure the Borders, Limit Chain Migration

Quotes - Saturday, December 20, 2008

Kyl isn't saying no to immigration reform out of hand, but he supports a position first articulated by McCain during the campaign: that Congress must convince the American people that the borders are secure before pursuing other reforms that critics view as benefiting illegal immigrants…

He also credited Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Kennedy for their willingness to make concessions, particularly on restricting family "chain migration," upon which Kyl says few other countries base their immigration systems. With chain migration, immigrants can facilitate visas for relatives.

Kennedy's conciliatory attitude prompted Kyl to make concessions, too. He agreed to a proposed pathway to citizenship for many who are now in the country illegally. Kyl prefers a system based on the U.S. marketplace's need for temporary workers and had opposed such a pathway in 2006.

By Dan Nowicki -- Arizona Republic

Kyl isn't saying no to immigration reform out of hand, but he supports a position first articulated by McCain during the campaign: that Congress must convince the American people that the borders are secure before pursuing other reforms that critics view as benefiting illegal immigrants…

He also credited Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Kennedy for their willingness to make concessions, particularly on restricting family "chain migration," upon which Kyl says few other countries base their immigration systems. With chain migration, immigrants can facilitate visas for relatives.

Kennedy's conciliatory attitude prompted Kyl to make concessions, too. He agreed to a proposed pathway to citizenship for many who are now in the country illegally. Kyl prefers a system based on the U.S. marketplace's need for temporary workers and had opposed such a pathway in 2006.

"I doubt that the public thinks we're there yet, and I'm not sure that the same basic trade-offs will be agreed to again," Kyl said. "I don't know whether the Obama administration would be willing to consider the same changes, but they were critical to my support for the ultimate bill. And if they alter the agreement significantly, and I suspect they will do so, then the equation for trade-offs becomes totally different."

By Dan Nowicki -- Arizona Republic

Show More http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/2008/12/20/20081220kyl-immig1220.html

Sen. Wicker (R-Miss.) -- Increase Border Control, Expand E-Verify

Quotes - Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wicker said he has supported legislation to increase military presence on the country's border with Mexico and a more stringent employment verification system.

"We need to make sure the E-Verify system is as accurate and instantaneous as it can be," he said. "I know there are people who think it's inaccurate, (but) it seemed to be a system on the right track to me."

In a wide-ranging interview, Wicker said he disagrees that babies born in the United States to parents who are in the country illegally should automatically become American citizens.

"I personally don't think that, and that alone, should confer citizenship on someone," Wicker said. "It would take a statute to be passed to say that interpretation of the 14th Amendment is incorrect. I would vote for such a statute to say something more has to take place than for the child to be physically born of illegal immigrant parents for that child to be a citizen."…

By Terry L. Jones -- Hattiesburg American

http://www.hattiesburgamerican.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080827/NEWS01/808270381

Sen. Hutchison (R-Texas) -- Favors Guest-Worker Program

Quotes - Monday, September 17, 2007

Hutchison made clear the GOP plan, shaping up as the rival to Feinstein's AgJobs bill, would not offer citizenship to the temporary workers.

"The problem we had in the last bill was the controversy over amnesty," Hutchison said when asked how her legislation could avoid the fate of the proposed comprehensive immigration fix.

Sessions, who called AgJobs a "massive amnesty," is pressing for a program that would allow foreign workers to stay in the U.S. for as long as 10 months and then return home before applying to re-enter for another temporary work cycle...

…Hutchison is making no promises. "I don't know if we are going to be successful," she said. But, she added, "Let's try taking it in smaller pieces and do what, really, Congresses in the past should have done."

Houston Chronicle

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/5139911.html

Sen. Dorgan (D-N.D.) -- Secure Boders

Quotes - Friday, June 29, 2007

this issue will come back. I think the first thing’s first: to provide demonstrated border security and border enforcement. At that point the American people will feel that we’re doing the first thing we need to do.

The Hill

http://blog.thehill.com/2007/06/29/the-immigration-debate-is-not-over-sen-byron-dorgan/

Publications

National All-Voters Immigration Poll - February 2014

Fact Sheets - Friday, February 21, 2014

National All-Voters Immigration Poll - Feb. 2014

Fact Sheets - Friday, February 21, 2014

Evangelicals for Biblical Immigration September 2013 Letter to Congress

Letters & Endorsements - Thursday, October 17, 2013

Rep. Stockman "No Conference" Dear Colleague Letter

Letters & Endorsements - Wednesday, September 18, 2013

National Poll - August 8, 2013

Fact Sheets - Wednesday, August 14, 2013

BALA Open Letter to Rep. Paul Ryan

Letters & Endorsements - Thursday, August 8, 2013

USCIS Letter to Congress on GOP DREAM Act

Letters & Endorsements - Thursday, August 1, 2013

Evangelicals for Biblical Immigration Letter to Congress

Letters & Endorsements - Monday, July 22, 2013

USCIS Union opposes Corker-Hoeven amendment to S.744

Fact Sheets - Monday, June 24, 2013

Fact Sheet: Corker-Hoeven amendment to S.744

Fact Sheets - Monday, June 24, 2013

Polls

Evangelical Christians Believe Immigration Laws Should Protect America's Vulnerable

Polls - Monday, February 24, 2014

78% of evangelical Christians believe that the Old Testament verses in which "God commands the ancient Israelites to love the stranger as themselves" means the U.S. government should offer humane treatment while fairly applying the law.

Evangelical VotersNational Poll of evangelical voters' biblical views on immigration policy by dmarshNumbersusa

78% of evangelical Christians believe that the Old Testament verses in which "God commands the ancient Israelites to love the stranger as themselves" means the U.S. government should offer humane treatment while fairly applying the law.

Evangelical VotersNational Poll of evangelical voters' biblical views on immigration policy by dmarshNumbersusa

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Strong Support Among GOP Evangelicals for 'Controlled Immigration'

Polls - Wednesday, September 25, 2013

63% of GOP Evangelical likely voters strongly oppose a bill that would grant work permits and legalization to illegal aliens. 65% of GOP Evangelicals feel little to no moral responsibility to help illegal aliens who are living in the United States. See the poll's full results here.

63% of GOP Evangelical likely voters strongly oppose a bill that would grant work permits and legalization to illegal aliens. 65% of GOP Evangelicals feel little to no moral responsibility to help illegal aliens who are living in the United States. See the poll's full results here.

Strong Support Among GOP Evangelicals for Controlled Immigration by NumbersUSA

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Language Matters: GOP Strongly Supports 'Controlled Immigration'

Polls - Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A survey of 1,000 likely Republican voters found concern for the direction of immigration policy with 74% favoring an approach that favors Immigration Security and Enforcement ahead of other concerns. 57% also support reducing current legal immigration levels by at least 25%. View the full poll results here.

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Catholic opinions on the Morality of Immigration Reform

Polls - Friday, September 13, 2013

Catholic voters were three times more likely to say the government has "a lot" of moral responsibility to protect American workers from competition with immigrant workers than to say it has "a lot" of moral responsibility to protect illegal immigrants from being separated from their families by deportation. View the full poll details here.

Catholic voters were three times more likely to say the government has "a lot" of moral responsibility to protect American workers from competition with immigrant workers than to say it has "a lot" of moral responsibility to protect illegal immigrants from being separated from their families by deportation. View the full poll details here.

Catholic Opinions on the Morality of Immigration Reform by NumbersUSA

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Texas Poll August 2013

Polls - Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Americans Prefer Fewer Guest Workers

Prefer Lower Numbers Protect Jobs and Wages - Monday, July 22, 2013

According to a poll conducted by the National Journal, the majority of Americans prefer fewer high-tech and construction guest workers. The poll found that 65% of Republicans, 53% of Democrats, and 53% of Independents want fewer high-tech guest workers. It also found that 71% of Republicans, 60% of Democrats, and 58% of Independents want fewer construction guest workers.

National Journal

http://www.nationaljournal.com/congressional-connection/infographics/unwanted-guest-workers-20130620

64% of Likely Voters support Border Control Before Amnesty

Oppose Amnesty - Friday, March 22, 2013

64% of Likely U.S. voters say they support securing the border before dealing with the 11-19 million illegal aliens currently living in the United States. Only 26% support an amnesty with a promise to secure the border later.

Rasmussen Reports

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/questions/pt_survey_questions/march_2013/questions_securing_the_border_march_20_21_2013

69% of Registered Voters Support Border Security Before Amnesty

Oppose Amnesty - Monday, March 4, 2013

69% of registered voters support securing the border before dealing with other issues within our immigration system, inlcuding 81 percent of Republicans, 62% of Democrats, and 60% of independents. Only 25 percent support securing the border while dealing with the 11-19 million illegal aliens at the same time.

Fox News Poll

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/03/04/fox-news-poll-most-support-strengthening-borders-before-other-immigration/print#ixzz2Mccd3UDK

53% of Americans favor enforcement over legalization

Oppose Amnesty - Thursday, February 21, 2013

30% of respondents think that most illegal aliens should be deported with some exceptions. Another 23% think that all illegal aliens should be deported. Only 36% think most or all illegal aliens should be allowed to stay in the United States.

Reuters/Ipsos

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/21/us-usa-immigration-idUSBRE91K01A20130221

Americans Prefer Illegal Immigrants Head Home

Oppose Amnesty - Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Of likely voters, 52 percent responded that they preferred to see illegal immigrants in the United States go back to their home countries, compared to just 33 percent who would like them to be given legal status.

Pulse Opinion Research

http://cis.org/americans-prefer-illegal-immigrants-head-home-results-of-national-survey

In the News

NumbersUSA's Beck: Public Pressure Can Stop Immigration Amnesty

Quoted - Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Americans must keep pressure on Congress to stop lawmakers from ramming through an immigration reform bill that includes amnesty, says Roy Beck, executive director of NumbersUSA.

http://www.newsmax.com/NewsmaxTv/amnesty-immigration-paul-ryan-roy-beck/2014/02/04/id/550919#ixzz2sStjy8IX

US immigration reform nears tipping point

Quoted - Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Separately, groups like Numbers USA, which calls for lower levels of immigration, are preparing to step up their campaign urging lawmakers to vote against reform....

Meanwhile, Numbers USA plans to start a new radio campaign as soon as the debate over control has been concluded. This would increase the pressure it is already applying to lawmakers, having sent 2m faxes objecting to legalisation, said Roy Beck, chief executive.

“The difference between now and 2007 is that there weren’t 20m Americans looking for jobs who couldn’t find work then,” Mr Beck said.

By Anna Fifield in the Financial Times

Download Publication http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/0fce9c66-a1f3-11e2-ad0c-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2QBUnrgNA

Outside Group Targets Begich on Immigration

Quoted - Friday, April 5, 2013

The group Numbers USA aims to "educate voters" in states with senators who could play a pivotal role in the coming immigration debate.

The group started airing an ad throughout Alaska this week that asks actors who "thinks Senator Mark Begich's plan to bring in foreign workers to take American jobs is a good idea?"

Roy Beck, executive director of Numbers USA, said Senator Begich has been tight-lipped on immigration since arriving in the Senate four years ago, except on J-1 visas.

By Peter Granitz -- Alaska Public Radio

http://www.alaskapublic.org/2013/04/04/outside-group-targets-begich-on-immigration/

Conservative groups back immigration reform

Quoted - Friday, April 5, 2013

The push comes as conservative critics have also begun to ramp up their campaign to scuttle the immigration overhaul, which makes efforts like these key if Congress is going to succeed in passing immigration legislation. Numbers USA is already up with ads in Alaska and South Carolina targeting Sens. Mark Begich and Lindsey Graham and they expect to go up with more ads in the near future.

By ANNA PALMER and JAKE SHERMAN -- Politico

http://www.politico.com/story/2013/04/conservatives-immigration-reform-89649.html

Anti-amnesty group targets Sen. Mark Begich in immigration debate

Quoted - Thursday, April 4, 2013

Looking to derail comprehensive immigration talks on Capitol Hill, the advocacy group NumbersUSA launched a new ad campaign Wednesday targeting Alaska Sen. Mark Begich, who is seen as one of the most vulnerable Democrats up for re-election in 2014.

The ad is part of the group's "Say No to Amnesty" campaign (https://www.saynotoamnesty.com/), which also has targeted Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, who is a member of the bipartisan "Gang of Eight" that is hammering out a comprehensive immigration bill that could provide legal status as well as a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrantsliving here.

By Seth McLaughlin - The Washington Times

http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/inside-politics/2013/apr/3/anti-amnesty-group-targets-democratic-sen-mark-beg/

Veteran opponents of reform ready for immigration fight

Quoted - Tuesday, April 2, 2013

“Everything other than the politics is worse now than it was in 2007,” says Rosemary Jenks, a lobbyist for NumbersUSA, an immigration limitation group heavily involved in fighting the Bush-backed measure.

And according to Jenks, that includes, most importantly, the unemployment rate. It’s improved in recent months to 7.7 percent, but is currently higher than the 4.5 percent recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the summer of 2007.

NumbersUSA – which works to strictly limit legal immigration in addition to opposing efforts to legalize undocumented immigrants – and other groups aim to again mobilize opponents of reform by arguing that the proposed legalization and guest-worker programs would hurt Americans already struggling to find work.

By Carrie Dann -- NBC News

http://nbcpolitics.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/04/01/17555907-veteran-opponents-of-reform-ready-for-immigration-fight?lite

'The Uninvited' -- Rosemary Jenks: Amnesty would give terrorists 'Brand New' identities

Quoted - Thursday, March 28, 2013

At Breitbart News' "The Uninvited" Panel during CPAC last weekend, Rosemary Jenks, the director of government relations for Numbers USA, told the packed audience that Republicans have not thoroughly considered and discussed how giving amnesty to 11-12 million illegal immigrants would allow terrorists to receive brand new identities, cost the government $2.5 trillion dollars over their lifetime, and create more Democrats.  

By Tony Lee -- Breibart News

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/03/19/Rosemary-Jenks-at-The-Uninvited-Amnesty-Would-Cost-U-S-2-5-Trillion-Give-Terrorists-Brand-New-Identities

Obama’s immigration exemptions poison needed reforms, say critics

Quoted - Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Advocates of a compromise reform of immigration law say their efforts are being hampered by President Barack Obama’s policy of ignoring unwanted portions of previous immigration-law compromises.

“It would be ridiculous for Republicans to actually believe that the Obama administration is going to uphold its end of any compromise,” said Rosemary Jenks, the director of government relations at NumbersUSA, which wants a reform that would invite fewer, but higher skilled, immigrants

“If Obama does not believe the existing laws apply to him, why would he believe a new compromise applies to him?” she said.

By Neil Munro -- The Daily Caller

http://dailycaller.com/2013/01/04/obamas-immigration-exemptions-poison-needed-reforms-say-critics/

For Undocumented Youth, New Policy Carries Risks

Quoted - Wednesday, August 15, 2012

"Unemployed Americans are now going to have abouyt 1.8 million more people added into the legal workforce to compete with them for a limited number of jobs. There is a cost to this, and the cost is to the most vulnerable young Americans," Roy Beck said.

By Joel Rose, NPR

http://www.npr.org/2012/08/15/158872445/for-undocumented-youth-new-policy-carries-risks

Irish immigration bill draws ire from advocates

Quoted - Thursday, March 22, 2012

Roy Beck, executive director of NumbersUSA, which wants to reduce immigration, said Brown's bill will end up hurting American workers of all races and ethnic backgrounds.
 
"Why would you want to bring in 10,500 more foreign workers at a time when we've got 20 million Americans who either can't find jobs or are forced to take part-time jobs when they want to work full-time," Beck said. "Brown's bill is about pandering."

By Erin Kelly, USA Today

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/story/2012-03-22/irish-immigration-congress/53706766/1

L.A. County officials worried about costs of immigration overhaul

In the News - Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Few regions will absorb the impact of future immigration reforms more than Los Angeles County, home to an estimated 1.1 million people in the country illegally, one-tenth of the nation's total.

As the Senate Judiciary Committee began debating the bipartisan immigration bill last week, county officials voiced concerns that local taxpayers will be "left holding the bag" to pay for the brunt of healthcare and other services for multitudes of immigrants who apply for citizenship.

By Richard Simon -- Los Angeles Times

http://articles.latimes.com/2013/may/11/local/la-me-county-immigration-20130512

Immigration Reform Issue: The Effect on the Budget

In the News - Tuesday, February 12, 2013

It’s hard to say with precision what impact offering citizenship would have on the budget, but the chances are good that it would cost the government money. Half to three-quarters of illegal immigrants pay taxes, according to studies reviewed in a 2007 report by the Congressional Budget Office. And they are relatively inexpensive, compared with Americans of similar incomes. Their children can attend public schools at government expense — putting a burden on state and local budgets. But they are barred from receiving federal benefits like the earned-income tax credit, food stamps and Medicaid. Only their American-born children can get those.

By Eduardo Porter - New York Times

It’s hard to say with precision what impact offering citizenship would have on the budget, but the chances are good that it would cost the government money. Half to three-quarters of illegal immigrants pay taxes, according to studies reviewed in a 2007 report by the Congressional Budget Office. And they are relatively inexpensive, compared with Americans of similar incomes. Their children can attend public schools at government expense — putting a burden on state and local budgets. But they are barred from receiving federal benefits like the earned-income tax credit, food stamps and Medicaid. Only their American-born children can get those. Government revenue might not change much with legalization. Most illegal immigrants who don’t pay taxes probably work in the cash economy — as nannies or gardeners — where tax compliance among citizens is low. Costs, of course, would increase. Once they became citizens, immigrants would be entitled to the same array of government benefits as other Americans. For Social Security and Medicare alone, offering citizenship to illegal immigrants would mean losing a subsidy worth several billion dollars a year in payroll taxes from immigrants who can’t collect benefits in old age.

By Eduardo Porter - New York Times

Show More http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/06/business/immigration-reform-issue-the-effect-on-the-budget.html?ref=immigrationandemigration&_r=0

Chamber's Donohue Pushes for Immigration and Entitlement Reform

In the News - Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Immigration reform also took a prominent place in Donohue's remarks, with the Chamber president emphasizing the need for skilled workers to help stave off outsourcing. He advocated guest visas for lower-skilled workers and expanding the caps on high-skilled visas, as well as helping foreigners who earn advanced degrees in the U.S. to stay.

"Even with high unemployment, we have millions of job openings that go unfilled," he said. "Either the workers come here to fill those jobs or the companies take all of their jobs somewhere else."

President Obama has spoken of immigration reform as one of his priorities for his second term. Donohue said that he has spoken with senators, as well as AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, about the potential for overhauling the nation's immigration laws.

By DANIELLE KURTZLEBEN -- US News

Immigration reform also took a prominent place in Donohue's remarks, with the Chamber president emphasizing the need for skilled workers to help stave off outsourcing. He advocated guest visas for lower-skilled workers and expanding the caps on high-skilled visas, as well as helping foreigners who earn advanced degrees in the U.S. to stay.

"Even with high unemployment, we have millions of job openings that go unfilled," he said. "Either the workers come here to fill those jobs or the companies take all of their jobs somewhere else."

President Obama has spoken of immigration reform as one of his priorities for his second term. Donohue said that he has spoken with senators, as well as AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, about the potential for overhauling the nation's immigration laws.

"I have an optimistic feeling about this," said Donohue, pointing to bipartisan support for reform. But he acknowledged that support for immigration reform is not unanimous.

By DANIELLE KURTZLEBEN -- US News

Show More http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/01/10/chambers-donohue-pushes-for-immigration-and-entitlement-reform

Deferred action applications continue at slower pace

In the News - Tuesday, December 18, 2012

What some initially perceived as an election-related drop in applications for deferred action - a federal program offering temporary legal status to young undocumented immigrants - has continued into December. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is reporting that the daily pace of incoming applications for the program continues to slow.

The agency's latest numbers show that while applications peaked at 5,715 a day in September, they averaged 3,988 a day through the entire month of November. Through Dec. 13, incoming applications have been averaging 2,720 a day.

By Leslie Berestein Rojas - Southern California Public Radio

http://www.scpr.org/blogs/multiamerican/2012/12/14/11564/deferred-action-applications-continue-slower-pace/

Lee rules out ‘amnesty’ as he works on immigration-reform team

In the News - Friday, December 14, 2012

Sen. Mike Lee opposed amnesty for illegal immigrants in his 2010 campaign and he continues to fight it now, which makes his inclusion in a bipartisan group working on comprehensive reform all the more surprising.

The Utahn is one of four Republicans holding private talks with four Democrats in hopes of overhauling the nation’s immigration laws by the end of 2013.

By Matt Canham -- The Salt Lake Tribune

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/55453081-90/lee-immigration-immigrants-illegal.html.csp?page=1

New 'Gang of Eight' on immigration

In the News - Friday, December 14, 2012

Make way for a new Gang of Eight. An octet of senators has begun to meet to discuss immigration reform, multiple sources told POLITICO. It’s a possible sign of progress on what’s expected to be a top legislative priority on Capitol Hill next year.

By Seung Min Kim -- Politico

http://www.politico.com/story/2012/12/new-gang-of-eight-on-immigration-84772.html

Syrians in the U.S. Are Given Protected Immigration Status

In the News - Monday, March 26, 2012

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Friday granted temporary immigration status to Syrians in the United States, sparing them from having to return home, in a new sign that Washington believes security conditions in Syria are going from bad to worse.

By Julia Preston- The New York Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/24/us/syrians-in-the-us-are-given-protected-immigration-status.html?_r=2&ref=immigrationandemigration

Admin. extends Salvadoran deportation freeze

In the News - Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Obama administration has extended temporary protected status to El Salvadoran nationals through late 2013, shielding them from deportation and forcible return to their home country.

By Byron Tau and Joshua Gerstein, Politico, January 10, 2012

http://www.politico.com/politico44/2012/01/admin-extends-salvadoran-deportation-freeze-110304.html

Colorado Senator Michael Bennet introduces bill to give skilled immigrant students a pathway to legal status

In the News - Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Undocumented students who graduate high school and enroll in college in a science, technology or math program would be eligible for temporary student visas in an immigration overhaul bill introduced today by Sen. Michael Bennet.

Bennet, a Democrat and former Denver schools chief, said his proposed bill would also make it easier for students who graduate with advanced degrees in science or math to stay and work in the United States — particularly if there is a need for them.

By Allison Sherry -- The Denver Post

http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_19537105

No, Obama can’t grant ‘amnesty’ by pardoning illegal immigrants

In the News - Tuesday, December 6, 2011

In reality, the president does not possess this authority, as unauthorized presence in the U.S. is a civil violation, not a criminal one. Presidential pardon power only applies to federal crimes, described as “offenses against the United States” in the Constitution. As such, “a pardon can’t make someone a citizen or lawful resident,” explains John Harrison, a law professor at the University of Virginia. “Deportation is not a criminal proceeding, it’s a civil process that removes from the country someone who is not entitled to be here.”

By Suzy Khimm -- Washington Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/no-obama-cant-grant-amnesty-by-pardoning-illegal-immigrants/2011/12/06/gIQA5S53ZO_blog.html

Congressional Testimony

Jordan Commission's Full Report to Congress

Congressional Testimony - Monday, September 1, 1997

U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, September 1997

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Jordan Commission -- Executive Summary on Legal Immigration

Congressional Testimony - Friday, September 1, 1995

U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, 1995

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Jordan Commission -- Executive Summary on Illegal Immigration

Congressional Testimony - Thursday, September 1, 1994

U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, 1994

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