I come to Berlin as so many of my countrymen have come before. Tonight, I speak to you not as a candidate for President, but as a citizen – a proud citizen of the United States, and a fellow citizen of the world.
Yes, there have been differences between America and Europe. No doubt, there will be differences in the future. But the burdens of global citizenship continue to bind us together. A change of leadership in Washington will not lift this burden. In this new century, Americans and Europeans alike will be required to do more -- not less. Partnership and cooperation among nations is not a choice; it is the one way, the only way, to protect our common security and advance our common humanity.
That is why the greatest danger of all is to allow new walls to divide us from one another.
People of Berlin – people of the world – this is our moment. This is our time.
Our allegiance has never been to any particular tribe or kingdom – indeed, every language is spoken in our country; every culture has left its imprint on ours; every point of view is expressed in our public squares.
I will work with anyone in Congress who’s willing to make progress on comprehensive immigration reform that addresses our economic needs and security needs, and upholds our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. And in the meantime, we will continue to use every federal resource to protect the safety and civil rights of all Americans, and treat all our people with dignity and respect. We can solve these challenges not in spite of our most cherished values – but because of them. What makes us American is not a question of what we look like or what our names are. What makes us American is our shared belief in the enduring promise of this country – and our shared responsibility to leave it more generous and more hopeful than we found it.
I am pleased that the Supreme Court has struck down key provisions of Arizona's immigration law. What this decision makes unmistakably clear is that Congress must act on comprehensive immigration reform. A patchwork of state laws is not a solution to our broken immigration system – it’s part of the problem.
This morning, Secretary Napolitano announced new actions my administration will take to mend our nation’s immigration policy, to make it more fair, more efficient, and more just -- specifically for certain young people sometimes called “Dreamers.” … In the absence of any immigration action from Congress to fix our broken immigration system, what we’ve tried to do is focus our immigration enforcement resources in the right places. So we prioritized border security, putting more boots on the southern border than at any time in our history -- today, there are fewer illegal crossings than at any time in the past 40 years. We focused and used discretion about whom to prosecute, focusing on criminals who endanger our communities rather than students who are earning their education. And today, deportation of criminals is up 80 percent. We've improved on that discretion carefully and thoughtfully. Well, today, we're improving it again. Effective immediately, the Department of Homeland Security is taking steps to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people. Over the next few months, eligible individuals who do not present a risk to national security or public safety will be able to request temporary relief from deportation proceedings and apply for work authorization.
This is not amnesty; this is not immunity. This is not a path to citizenship. It's not a permanent fix. This is a temporary stopgap measure that lets us focus our resources wisely while giving a degree of relief and hope to talented, driven, patriotic young people.— Rose Garden remarks on suspension of deportations of young people, June 15, 2012
Has ordered a stop to the deportations of younger illegal immigrants who came to U.S. as children and have no criminal history; administration presided over record 396,906 deportations in 2011.
Obama reiterated his support for the Dream Act, legislation to allow undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children to remain legally as long as they serve in the military or attend college.
"I've said time and again: Send me the Dream Act; I will sign it right away," he said.
Now, I know some people want me to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own. (Applause.) And believe me, right now dealing with Congress --
AUDIENCE: Yes, you can! Yes, you can! Yes, you can! Yes, you can! Yes, you can!
THE PRESIDENT: Believe me -- believe me, the idea of doing things on my own is very tempting. (Laughter.) I promise you. Not just on immigration reform. (Laughter.) But that's not how -- that's not how our system works.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Change it!
THE PRESIDENT: That’s not how our democracy functions. That's not how our Constitution is written.
So let’s be honest. I need a dance partner here -- and the floor is empty. (Laughter.)
Hermanos y hermanas, that promise is in our hands. It’s up to us to continue that story. It’s up to us to hand it down to all of our children –- Latino, black, white, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled, not disabled. (Applause.) We’re one family, and we need each other. And if we remember that and continue to focus on that, if we come together and work together as one people and summon the best in each other, I’m confident that promise will endure.
I promised you I would work tirelessly to fix our broken immigration system and make the DREAM Act a reality… And we have a system right now that allows the best and the brightest to come study in America and then tells them to leave, set up the next great company someplace else. We have a system that tolerates immigrants and businesses that breaks the rules and punishes those that follow the rules. We have a system that separates families, and punishes innocent young people for their parents’ actions by denying them the chance to earn an education or contribute to our economy or serve in our military. These are the laws on the books. Now, I swore an oath to uphold the laws on the books, but that doesn't mean I don't know very well the real pain and heartbreak that deportations cause. I share your concerns and I understand them. And I promise you, we are responding to your concerns and working every day to make sure we are enforcing flawed laws in the most humane and best possible way.
Something that we can do immediately that is very important is to pass the DREAM Act, which allows children who through no fault of their own are here but have essentially grown up as Americans, allow them the opportunity for higher education.— Austin, Texas, Democratic primary debate, 2008
The President plans to create a 21st century immigration system by:
• Continuing to fulfill the federal government’s responsibility to securing our borders;
• Demanding accountability for businesses that break the law by undermining American workers and exploiting undocumented workers;
• Strengthening our economic competiveness by creating a legal immigration system that reflects our values and diverse needs; and
• Requiring responsibility from people who are living in the United States illegally.