Obama gone wild on immigration
President Obama helped swear in 28 newly naturalized U.S. citizens at the White House on Monday, using the occasion to demand that Congress “finish the job” on his push for a comprehensive overhaul of immigration laws.
“Immigration makes us stronger; it keeps us vibrant, it keeps us hungry, it makes us prosperous. It’s part of what makes this a dynamic country,” Obama said. But, he added: “We need to do a better job welcoming them. We’ve known for years that our immigration system is broken. . . .After avoiding the problem for years, the time has come to fix it once and for all.”
The president has participated in a naturalization ceremony at the White House for the past four years, but this year’s event took on heightened symbolism. Obama read a list of countries that the immigrants hailed from — including Afghanistan, Germany, Mexico, Nigeria and Peru and some of the new citizens wore their U.S. military uniforms. They raised their right hand while reciting an oath of citizenship at the direction of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
The Senate effort, widely expected to serve as a template for a potential deal between Congress and the White House, will include a 13-year path to citizenship for the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants, a large increase in visas for high-tech workers, a new guest-worker program for low-wage foreigners, and the elimination of some categories of visas for extended family members, according to people familiar with the negotiations.
The legislation will also call for increased border control and work-place security measures.
“We’ve got to finish the job. This issue is not new,” Obama said. “Everyone pretty much knows what’s broken; everyone knows how to fix it. . . . We’ve just got, at this point, to work up the political courage to do what’s required to be done.”
Immigration advocates hailed the White House ceremony Monday as an example of why the promise of becoming a citizen is so important to those who leave home countries