President Obama's powerful statement on Immigration

Last night the President gave a powerful riff about immigration that we thought might be welcome to our community given the tone of late. They came from a town hall in Des Moines, Iowa. Enjoy:

[Excerpt from President Obama’s Town Hall on College Access in Des Moines, Iowa, 9/14/15]

THE PRESIDENT: But this raises the broader question that I’ve been talking about now for a couple of years, and that is that for young people who came here, their parents may have brought them here and they now are Americans, kids by every other criteria except for a piece of paper -- they may be your classmates, they may be your friends, they may be your neighbors -- the notion that somehow we would not welcome their desire to be full-fledged parts of this community and this country, and to contribute and to serve makes absolutely no sense. (Applause.)

And this whole anti-immigrant sentiment that’s out there in our politics right now is contrary to who we are. (Applause.) Because unless you are a Native American, your family came from someplace else. (Applause.) And although we are a nation of laws and we want people to follow the law, and we have been working -- and I’ve been pushing Congress to make sure that we have strong borders and we are keeping everybody moving through legal processes -- don’t pretend that somehow 100 years ago the immigration process was all smooth and strict and -- that’s not how it worked.

There are a whole bunch of folks who came here from all over Europe and all throughout Asia and all throughout Central America and all -- and certainly who came from Africa, who it wasn’t some orderly process where all the rules applied and everything was strict, and I came the right way. That’s not how it worked.

So the notion that now, suddenly, that one generation or two generations, or even four or five generations removed, that suddenly we are treating new immigrants as if they’re the problem, when your grandparents were treated like the problem, or your great-grandparents were treated like the problem, or were considered somehow unworthy or uneducated or unwashed -- no. That’s not who we are. It’s not who we are.

We can have a legitimate debate about how to set up an immigration system that is fair and orderly and lawful. And I think the people who came here illegally should have the consequences of paying a fine and getting registered, and all kinds of steps that they should have to take in order to get right with the law. But when I hear folks talking as if somehow these kids are different from my kids, or less worthy in the eyes of God, that somehow they are less worthy of our respect and consideration and care -- I think that’s un-American. I do not believe that. I think it is wrong. (Applause.) And I think we should do better. Because that’s how America was made -- by us caring about all our kids. “