President Obama to new citizens: "In each of you, we see the true spirit of America"
03:00 PM EDT
Today, President Obama spoke at a at a naturalization ceremony for active duty service members and civilians at the White House. He welcomed 28 new American citizens to our nation of immigrants and called for reforms to our immigration system that will help harness the talent and ingenuity of all those like them who want to work hard and find a place here in America.
President Obama said that in each of the men and women who had earned the right to call this country home, we're reminded of the millions who came before them and our "faith in the idea that anyone, anywhere, can write the next great chapter in this American story. "
We are so proud of everybody here. In each of you, we see the true spirit of America. And we see a bit of ourselves, too, because most of our stories trace back to moments just like this one. To an ancestor who -– just like the men and women here today –- raised their right hand and recited that sacred oath.
And the point is that unless you are one of the first Americans, unless you are a Native American, you came from someplace else. That’s why we’ve always defined ourselves as a nation of immigrants. And we’ve always been better off for it. The promise we see in those who come from all over the world is one of our greatest strengths. It’s kept our workforce young. It keeps our businesses on the cutting edge. It’s helped to build the greatest economic engine that the world has ever known.
"Immigration makes us stronger," the President said. "And if we want to keep attracting the best and the brightest that the world has to offer, then we need to do a better job of welcoming them."
"After avoiding the problem for years, the time has come to fix it once and for all," he said. "The time has come for a comprehensive, sensible immigration reform"
No other country on Earth welcomes as many new arrivals as we do, he said. "And as long as the promise of America endures, as long as we continue to stand tall as a beacon of hope and opportunity, then the world’s hardest workers, the hungriest entrepreneurs, the men and women who are willing to make enormous sacrifices to get a better life -- not just for themselves but for their children and their grandchildren, they're going to keep on coming."
For more information: