Open Thread: The President Speaks on Immigration

Just an hour or so ago, President Obama delivered a moving speech on immigration reform in Texas. Here is the President's speech in full:

The White House blog has a post on the President's speech and a copy of the blueprint for reform the President laid out. The President called for a practical, common sense approach based on accountability from government, individuals and businesses.

The President's blueprint laid out the same basic principles that were included in a bipartisan immigration reform bill just a few years ago:
  • Responsibility by the federal government to secure our borders: Today, our borders are more secure than at any time in the past several decades and the Administration continues to refine and strengthen its strategy.  Enforcement resources should be focused on preventing those who would do our nation harm from entering our country.
  • Accountability for businesses that break the law by undermining American workers and exploiting undocumented workers: Employers who deliberately hire and exploit undocumented workers must be held accountable. At the same time, we must give employers who want to play by the rules a reliable way to verify that their employees are here legally.
  • Strengthening our economic competiveness by creating a legal immigration system that reflects our values and diverse needs: Our immigration laws should continue to reunify families and encourage individuals we train in our world-class institutions to stay and develop new technologies and industries in the United States rather than abroad. The law should stop punishing innocent young people whose parents brought them here illegally and give those young men and women a chance to stay in this country if they serve in the military or pursue higher education. A smart 21st century system should also provide farmers a legal way to hire the workers they rely on year after year, and it should improve procedures for employers who seek to hire foreign workers for jobs if U.S. workers are not available.
  • Responsibility from people who are living in the United States illegally: Those people living here illegally must also be held accountable for their actions and get on the right side of the law by registering and undergoing national security and criminal background checks, paying taxes and a penalty, and learning English before they can get in line to become eligible for citizenship. Being a citizen of this country comes not only with rights but also with fundamental responsibilities.  We can create a pathway for legal status that is fair and reflects our values
I claim no expertise on the issue of immigration, and thus provide no grand analysis, but I agree with the framework the President laid out: we can be a country of  immigrants and a nation of laws. More than a decade ago, I came to this country as a 15 year old immigrant. Yes, my family was documented, but the point I want to make here is that the decision to come here wasn't mine. This country became my country quickly, and I know how children who weren't born here but grew up here feel, whether documented or not. Their documentation status is not of their own doing, and I think it is immoral for us to kick American children - yes, they are American children - out of this country for something that they had no control over.

With that, I really want this to be an open discussion about immigration policy. Let's share our experiences, teach each other, and discuss things openly. Let's do so with the courage of our conviction, but never with disrespect for someone else offering a different but well thought out and researched view. Let's make this a learning experience.

UPDATE: Oops, turns out I got the wrong video. The video I had up was from last year. Corrected now! Sorry about this, guys.

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