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Obama to America: Our Country Needs Immigration Reform, Advocates Say “Yes, You Can”

May 10, 2011

In a speech this afternoon in El Paso, Texas, President Obama said that fixing our broken immigration system is the right thing to do and an economic imperative. The text of Obama's speech is available here.

The following is a statement from OneAmerica Executive Director Pramila Jayapal:

"The vision that President Obama laid out today for immigration reform is exactly what we've spent the last decade fighting for. We agree with his assessment that no matter how much he capitulates to Republican calls for 'border security first,' those same Republicans will never be satisfied. This is why we have consistently advocated for courageous leadership on comprehensive immigration reform that includes updating our outdated immigration laws so that they reflect the needs of America’s businesses and families, while at the same time ensuring sane and humane enforcement measures.  

Comprehensive immigration reform has always required great leadership and courage from both the President and Congress. The reality is that the majority of Americans do want immigration reform that includes an earned path to legalization. We agree with the President’s call to the country to push Congress to pass real reform that fixes our broken immigration system. 

In the meantime, President Obama does have the power to take action immediately. If he continues to wait for Republicans to come forward, he will only continue to harm the very individuals he lifted up today—including hundreds of thousands of people right here in Washington State, from our Microsoft workers to our farmworkers.

We continue to call for the President to take decisive leadership on administrative actions that would end costly and ineffective ICE ACCESS programs such as the Criminal Alien Program, Secure Communities, and 287g, end the deportation of DREAM students, and provide relief for millions of families across the country.

In the end, it’s up to President Obama to put into action the powerful vision he laid out.  We welcome his leadership and stand ready to act because we know that 'Change Takes Courage.'"

Poll: Majority of Americans Support Path to Legal Citizenship

On the eve of Obama's speech, the Pew Research Center released a new poll yesterday which finds overwhelming support (72%-24%) for a path to legal citizenship for undocumented immigrants, “provided they pass background checks, pay fines and have jobs.” Meanwhile, Congressional Republicans continue to support an enforcement-only strategy that does nothing practical or humane regarding the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

About OneAmerica

OneAmerica, formerly Hate Free Zone, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that advances the fundamental principles of democracy and justice by building power within immigrant communities.