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Immigration: Barack Obama Speaks in LA (2007)

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I was one of the chief sponsors of comprehensive immigration reform. The basic idea was simple: Yes, we do have to have genuine border security, I don’t think anybody should argue with that… Yes, we have to work with Mexico and they have to take some responsibility to provide jobs for their people… And...they have to take some responsibility for the borders. We have to make sure that there’s economic development there as well as here for all workers. We have to work with employers so that in a non-discriminatory way they are enforcing rules in terms of who can work and who can’t. But, one of the things I always said is: Make sure this system better work in a way that doesn’t say… just because your last name is Rodriguez suddenly... you are not being hired. Which is an enormous problem. But those are all legitimate issues. And then we have to have a pathway for those people who are undocumented who are already here. Because the truth is…when people say: “Oh, send them all back.” We are not sending all of them back… That’s not…people aren’t telling the truth… We would have to use all our law enforcement resources. We couldn’t go after gang bangers, we couldn’t go after auto theft, we would have to use every single law enforcement officer to go around and round up folks who are working at restaurants and… Some of the same people who are talking about this stuff use undocumented workers themselves, right? And so, what we need to do… ...we need to be honest and say: Lets pull people out of the shadows, lets admit that they have broken the law so they have to pay a fine… I think that they should learn English because that would help them. But make sure again, don’t cut programs for... education programs and then say to people: “learn English.” And... they are going to have to go to the back of the line. They can’t get citizenship before people who are waiting patiently, legally to come here… And fix the broken legal immigration system. The backlog is so long that so many people ultimately just say: “You know what, I’m just going to come here illegally.” They can’t wait ten years… They might already been here, they might have met somebody, they might have gotten married, that person is a legal resident but they can’t sponsor them… Now they are supposed to go back for ten years and wait? People don’t do that. So we have to have a realistic and practical system... Strong border security, get people out of the shadows, and if we do that… then I think we can be a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. Those two things are not incompatible, but it’s going to require leadership –unfortunately, I think – from the president of the United States. And right now, the language that came out during this last debate… There was some ugly language there… There was… It was more than just being concerned about the borders, It was… them versus us. And whenever we see people talking in terms of them versus us…. that’s a dangerous thing. America is at its strongest when it’s just us. It’s not them versus us. And that’s the kind of leadership I want to provide as president of the United States of America.

Video Details

Duration: 3 minutes and 47 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: None
Producer: OFA
Director: New Media
Views: 4,847
Posted by: rpena on Oct 28, 2008

Barack Obama answers immigration questions in LA (2007)

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