Weekly Address: Time for Congress to Pass Commonsense Immigration Reform
President Obama discusses the bipartisan legislation in the United States Senate that would take important steps towards fixing our broken immigration system, while growing our economy and reducing the deficit.
Remarks of President Barack Obama
The White House
June 22, 2013
Hi everybody. Right now, the United States Senate is debating a bipartisan, commonsense bill that would be an important step toward fixing our broken immigration system.
It’s a bill that would continue to strengthen security at our borders, and hold employers more accountable if they knowingly hire undocumented workers, so they won’t have an unfair advantage over businesses that follow the law.
It’s a bill that would modernize the legal immigration system so that, as we train American workers for the jobs of tomorrow, we’re also attracting the highly skilled entrepreneurs and engineers who grow our economy for everyone.
It’s a bill that would provide a pathway to earned citizenship for the 11 million individuals who are in this country illegally – a pathway that includes passing a background check, learning English, paying taxes and a penalty, then going to the back of the line behind everyone trying to come here legally.
And, a few days ago, a report from the Congressional Budget Office definitively showed that this bipartisan, commonsense bill will help the middle class grow our economy and shrink our deficits, by making sure that every worker in America plays by the same set of rules and pays taxes like everyone else.
According to this independent report, reforming our immigration system would reduce our deficits by almost a trillion dollars over the next two decades. And it will boost our economy by more than 5 percent, in part because of businesses created, investments made, and technologies invented by immigrants.
This comes on the heels of another report from the independent office that monitors Social Security’s finances, which says that this immigration bill would actually strengthen the long-term health and solvency of Social Security for future generations.
Because with this bill, millions of additional people will start paying more in taxes for things like Social Security and education. That’ll make the economy fairer for middle-class families.
So that’s what comprehensive immigration reform looks like. Stronger enforcement. A smarter legal immigration system. A pathway to earned citizenship. A more vibrant, growing economy that’s fairer on the middle class. And a more stable fiscal future for our kids.
Now, the bill isn’t perfect. It’s a compromise. Nobody is going to get everything they want – not Democrats, not Republicans, not me. But it’s consistent with the principles that I and others have laid out for commonsense reform. That’s why Republicans and Democrats, CEOs and labor leaders, are saying that now is the time to pass this bill. If you agree with us, reach out to your Senators and Representatives. Tell them that the time for excuses is over; it’s time to fix our broken immigration system once and for all.
We can do this, because we are a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants; a place enriched by the contributions of people from all over the world, and stronger for it. That’s been the story of America from the start. Let’s keep it going. Thanks, and have a great weekend.