At naturalization ceremony, Obama makes immigration push
In a naturalization ceremony for newly minted American citizens this morning, President Obama reiterated his ongoing push for what he called “comprehensive” and “sensible” immigration reform, lauding the active duty service members present and pointing to them as examples of the “the best and the brightest” for whom America should be making room.
Mr Obama, speaking alongside Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, shared some stories about those people being honoured, and expressed honour at being “among the first to greet” them as citizens of the United States.
“I know this is an incredibly special moment for you and for your families, but I have to say, it’s a special moment for the rest of us, as well, because as we look out across this room, we’re reminded that what makes somebody American isn’t just their bloodlines, it’s not just an accident of birth,” said Mr. Obama. “It’s fidelity to our founding principles, faith in the idea that anyone, anywhere can write the next great chapter in this American story.”
In today’s honorees, Mr Obama said he sees not just the “true spirit of America” but also “a bit of ourselves.”
“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,” he said. “We’ve known for years that our immigration system is broken, that we’re not doing enough to harness the talent and ingenuity of all those who want to work hard and find a place here in America, and after avoiding the problem for years, the time has come to fix it once and for all.”
“The time’s come for a comprehensive, sensible immigration reform,” he added.
Democrats and Republicans in Congress are in the throes of delicate negotiations over a plan to overhaul the nation’s immigration system, complete with the pathway to citizenship both the president and congressional Democrats – not to mention immigration reform advocates – have demanded. Still, while both sides appear to remain cautiously optimistic, many critical issues appear to be unresolved.
Today, the president called on Congress yet again to pass a piece of legislation he can sign.
“Let’s get this done,” he said. “And let’s do it in a way that keeps faith with our history and our values.”