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Weekly Address: President Obama – Immigration Accountability Executive Action

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.


From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the President laid out the steps he took this past week to fix our broken immigration system. Enacted within his legal authority, the President’s plan focuses on cracking down on illegal immigration at the border; deporting felons, not families; and accountability through criminal background checks and taxes. These are commonsense steps, but only Congress can finish the job.

As the President acts, he’ll continue to work with Congress on a comprehensive, bipartisan bill — like the one passed by the Senate more than a year ago — that can replace these actions and fix the whole system.

Transcript: Weekly Address: Immigration Accountability Executive Action

Hi everybody. Today, I’m at Del Sol High School, in Las Vegas, to talk with students and families about immigration.

We are a nation of immigrants. It has always given America a big advantage over other nations. It keeps our country young, dynamic, and entrepreneurial. But today, our immigration system is broken, and everybody knows it.

That’s why, nearly two years ago, I came to this school and laid out principles for immigration reform. And five months later, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents in the Senate came together to pass a commonsense compromise bill. That bill would have secured our border, while giving undocumented immigrants who already live here a pathway to citizenship if they paid a fine, started paying their taxes, and went to the back of the line. Independent experts said it would grow our economy, and shrink our deficits.

Now, had the House of Representatives allowed a yes-or-no vote on that kind of bill, it would have passed with support from both parties. Today it would be the law. But for a year and a half, Republican leaders in the House have refused to allow that simple vote. Now, I still believe that the best way to solve this problem is by working together — both parties — to pass that kind of bipartisan law. But until that happens, there are actions I have the legal authority to take as President — the same kinds of actions taken by Democratic and Republican Presidents before me — that will help make our immigration system more fair and more just.

I took those actions this week. We’re providing more resources at the border to help law enforcement personnel stop illegal crossings, and send home those who do cross over. We’ll focus enforcement resources on people who are threats to our security — felons, not families; criminals, not children. And we’ll bring more undocumented immigrants out of the shadows so they can play by the rules, pay their full share of taxes, pass a criminal background check, and get right with the law.

Nothing about this action will benefit anyone who has come to this country recently, or who might try and come to America illegally in the future. It does not grant citizenship, or the right to stay here permanently, or offer the same benefits that citizens receive. And it’s certainly not amnesty, no matter how often the critics say it. Amnesty is the immigration system we have today — millions of people living here without paying their taxes, or playing by the rules. And the actions I took this week will finally start fixing that.

As you might have heard, there are Members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better. Well, I have one answer for that: Pass a bill. The day I sign it into law, the actions I’ve taken to help solve this problem will no longer be necessary.

In the meantime, we can’t allow a disagreement over a single issue to be a dealbreaker on every issue. That’s not how our democracy works. This debate deserves more than politics as usual. It’s important for our future. It’s about who we are, and the future we want to build.

We are only here because this country welcomed our forebears, and taught them that being American is about more than what we look like or where we come from. What makes us Americans is our shared commitment to an ideal — that all of us are created equal, and all of us have the chance to make of our lives what we will. That’s the country we inherited, and it’s the one we have to leave for future generations.

Thank you, God bless you, and have a great weekend.

Bolding added.



  1. princesspat

    A nation of immigrants dreaming of better: It could be my story too

    I don’t know if President Obama’s sweeping actions on immigration will be ruled legal or not, or will even work in the end.

    But the speech he gave was the high point of his presidency – by far. When he said about America that “We know the heart of a stranger – we were strangers once, too,” I got a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye. That hasn’t happened to me during a political speech in, well, forever.

    I admit, though, that my reaction wasn’t rational. It’s because of what I’ve learned in recent years about my own grandfather.

    I had an emotional response to his speech as well. Both RonK’s and my families ancestors immigrated to this country. His grandparents found their way west from a German colony in Bessarabia, and my great grandparents came from Germany and Wales.

  2. After a nearly two-year investigation, the final report by the House Intelligence Committee concludes that the CIA “ensured sufficient security for CIA facilities in Benghazi and … bravely assisted the State Department” on Sept. 11, 2012, during a deadly attack on U.S. facilities in Libya.

    That’s the first conclusion of the report, the result of thousands of hours of investigation into the events that led to the deaths of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

    The security was not as good as it could have been because the same House that spent two years investigating this non-issue cut funding for State Department security. There is a story there somewhere but it will have to wait until the House is not being run as a partisan attack machine against Democratic presidencies.  

  3. Holder Calls For Calm As Ferguson Grand Jury Decision Looms

    Attorney General Eric Holder is urging law enforcement officers and protesters to keep the peace as a grand jury decision nears about whether to indict white police officer Darren Wilson for shooting dead a black 18-year-old who was unarmed in Ferguson, Mo.

    For months, federal officials in Washington, D.C., have been on the ground in Missouri, offering training and tips to ease community tensions and try to prevent violence. That work has picked up steam in recent days as elected officials and protest groups in Ferguson steel for an announcement about the grand jury that’s been hearing evidence since August.

    In a video released today, Holder says, “The Justice Department encourages law enforcement officials in every jurisdiction to work with the communities that they serve to minimize needless confrontation.”

    “History has … shown us that the most successful and enduring movements for change are those that adhere to nonaggression and nonviolence. And so I ask all those who seek to lend their voice to important causes and discussions, and who seek to elevate these vital conversations, to do so in a way that respects the gravity of their subject matter,” Holder says

  4. Not included in any of the lists, you might notice, is “passing common sense immigration bills” like the one that never made it to a vote in the House.

    Looks like impeachment is off the table, per “Unfamiliar with the Constitution” Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions. Psst, Senator, the House impeaches, the Senate removes. So “removal is off the table” is more appropriate. The House can impeach without your permission. This is what they did with the last Democratic president also (you may notice a pattern).

    The House is going to pass a bill defunding the president’s executive order except that there is nothing to defund. The order issues guidelines to immigration officials and the Justice Department on how to choose who to prosecute for deportation. So I guess you could defund the entire Justice Department and the Border Patrol. That’d show those folks trying to sneak into our country!!!

    Some are taking a government shutdown off the table but they are figuring out how to put some poison pills into the December 11 Continuing Resolution. Then President Obama will veto it and they can blame the shutdown on the president!! Good luck with that. All it will do is remind people which party is the party of shutdown. And if they shut down the government because they hate people of color, it will take a generation or more to fix the optics of that.

    The official line from the GOP is that they have a mandate to stop the president from completing his presidency. So the 65,915,796 people who voted for the president in 2012 should be ignored because 3 million or so people voted to change the Senate majority. Sorry, that won’t cut it. I voted for President Obama and he speaks for me.

  5. Obama Heightens the Contradictions

    There was an enlightening moment of candor when Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., visited MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on the morning of Obama’s immigration speech. “The president ought to walk into this a lot more slowly, especially after an election,” Coburn said. “This idea, the rule of law, is really concerning a lot of people where I come from. And whether it’s factual or perceptual, it really doesn’t matter.”

    Yes, for many of the president’s foes, the distinction between the “factual” and the “perceptual” doesn’t matter anymore.[…]

    In a superb reconstruction of why the president decided to move on his own, Washington Post reporters Juliet Eilperin, Ed O’Keefe and David Nakamura note that the last straw for Obama was House Speaker John Boehner’s refusal to say after the election that he would bring up an immigration bill if the president agreed to postpone executive action. In the absence of concrete pledges that something would get done, there was no point in waiting any longer.

    All this explains the jubilation among progressives. They not only agree with the substance of what Obama did but also see him as finally calling the bluff of his opponents. He has forced the contradictions of the Republican establishmentarians into the sunlight.

    [Some Republicans also claimed] they agree with the substance of what Obama did and also that Congress should pass a broader immigration bill. If this is true, then why should they spend all their energy trying to undo the constructive steps he has just taken? If they punt and simply join in the rancid attacks on Obama as an “emperor” and a “monarch,” they will demonstrate for all to see that the GOP really is dominated by its right wing and that those of more measured views are simply too timid to take on their internal adversaries.

    No wonder they’re so angry with the president.

    For the six years since Obama’s election, the Republican right has been on offense, continually blurring those distinctions between the “factual” and the “perceptual.” They keep charging that Obama is a dangerous radical even when he pursues middle-of-the-road policies. Their supposedly more temperate colleagues go along because they don’t have to pay a price.

    Obama has just told them their free ride is over. The stakes in American politics will be much clearer because he did.

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