President Obama unveils plan to change immigration system - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

President Obama unveils plan to change immigration system

Posted: Updated:
President Barack Obama is telling the American people that the time to change the nation's immigration system is now, and he's taking action to make that happen. President Barack Obama is telling the American people that the time to change the nation's immigration system is now, and he's taking action to make that happen.
KHQ.com - President Obama laid out a plan to change the nation's immigration system and said he's taking action to make sure it happens.

From the White House, the President says it doesn't make sense to round up and deport millions of people living in the country illegally, and said his plan will let them come "out of the shadows," but said the plan is not anything close to amnesty. 
Obama's plan will shield from deportation nearly 5 million immigrants now in the U.S. illegally. His plan essentially sidesteps Congress and helps hose immigrants already in the country illegally by making them eligible to avoid deportation or obtain work permits.

Knowing he'll face opposition to his executive actions from the Republicans, Obama stated his plan should not be a "deal breaker" on other issues. 
The President also stated that if Republicans question his right to act on his own, they should act on a comprehensive immigration overhaul. Obama said he wants to work with both parties to pass a more permanent solution to fixing the immigration system.

"Americans are tired of gridlock," he declared in his speech Thursday night. 

A transcript of President Obama's speech on immigration: 

My fellow Americans, tonight I'd like to talk with you about immigration. For more than 200 years, our tradition of welcoming immigrants from around the world has given us a tremendous advantage over other nations.

It's kept us youthful, dynamic, and entrepreneurial. It has shaped our character as a people with limitless possibilities. People not trapped by our past, but able to remake ourselves as we choose.

But today, our immigration system is broken, and everybody knows it. Families who enter our country the right way and play by the rules watch others flout the rules. Business owners who offer their wages good wages benefits see the competition exploit undocumented immigrants by paying them far less. All of us take offense to anyone who reaps the rewards of living in America without taking on the responsibilities of living in America. And undocumented immigrants who desperately want to embrace those responsibilities see little option but to remain in the shadows, or risk their families being torn apart.

It's been this way for decades. And for decades we haven't done much about it. When I took office, I committed to fixing this broken immigration system. And I began by doing what I could to secure our borders.

Today we have more agents and technology deployed to secure our southern border than at any time in our history. And over the past six years illegal border crossings have been cut by more than half.

Although this summer there was a brief spike in unaccompanied children being apprehended at our border, the number of such children is actually lower than it's been in nearly two years.

Overall the number of people trying to cross our border illegally is at its lowest level since the 1970s. Those are the facts.

Meanwhile, I worked with Congress on a comprehensive fix. And last year 68 Democrats, Republicans, and independents came together to pass a bipartisan bill in the Senate. It wasn't perfect. It was a compromise. But it reflected common sense. It would have doubled the number of Border Patrol agents, while giving undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship, if they paid a fine, started paying their taxes and went to the back of the line. And independent experts said that it would help grow our economy and shrink our deficits.

Had the House of Representatives allowed that kind of bill a simple yes or no vote, it would have passed with support from both parties. And today it would be the law. But for a year and a half now Republican leaders in the House have refused to allow that simple vote. Now I continue to believe that the best way to solve this problem is by working together to pass that kind of common sense law. But until that happens, there are actions I have the legal authority to take as president, the same kinds of actions taken by Democratic and Republican presidents before me, that will help make our immigration system more fair and more just.

Tonight I'm announcing those actions.


First, we'll build on our progress at the border with additional resources for our law enforcement personnel so that they can stem the flow of illegal crossings and speed the return of those who do cross over.

Second, I'll make it easier and faster for high-skilled immigrants, graduates and entrepreneurs to stay and contribute to our economy, as so many business leaders proposed.

Third, we'll take steps to deal responsibly with the millions of undocumented immigrants who already had live in our country.

I want to say more about this third issue, because it generates the most passion and controversy. Even as we are a nation of immigrants, we're also a nation of laws. Undocumented workers broke our immigration laws, and I believe that they must be held accountable, especially those who may be dangerous.

That's why over the past six years deportations of criminals are up 80 percent, and that's why we're going to keep focusing enforcement resources on actual threats to our security. Felons, not families. Criminals, not children. Gang members, not a mom who's working hard to provide for her kids. We'll prioritize, just like law e enforcement does every day.

But even as we focus on deporting criminals, the fact is millions of immigrants in every state, of every race and nationality still live here illegally.

And let's be honest, tracking down, rounding up and deporting millions of people isn't realistic. Anyone who suggests otherwise isn't being straight with you. It's also not who we are as Americans.

After all, most of these immigrants have been here a long time. They work hard often in tough, low paying jobs. They support their families. They worship at our churches. Many of the kids are American born or spent spent most of their lives here. And their hopes, dreams, and patriotism are just like ours.

As my predecessor, President Bush, once put it, they are a part of American life.

Now here is the thing. We expect people who live in this country to play by the rules. We expect those who cut the line will not be unfairly rewarded. So we're going to offer the following deal: If you've with been in America more than five years. If you have children who are American citizens or illegal residents. If you register, pass a criminal background check and you're willing to pay your fair share of taxes, you'll be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily without fear of deportation. You can come out of the shadows and get right with the law. That's what this deal is.

Now let's be clear about what it isn't. This deal does not apply to anyone who has come to this country recently. It does not apply to anyone who might come to America illegally in the future. It does not grant citizenship or the right to stay here permanently, or offer the same benefits that citizens receive. Only Congress can do that. All we're saying is we're not going to deport you.

I know some of the critics of the action call it amnesty. Well, it's the not. Amnesty is the immigration system we have today. Millions of people who live here without paying their taxes or playing by the rules, while politicians use the issue to scare people and whip up votes at election time. That's the real amnesty, leaving this broken system the way it is. Mass amnesty would be unfair. Mass deportation would be both impossible and contrary it to our character.

What I'm describing is accountability. A common sense middle- ground approach. If you meet the criteria, you can come out of the shadows and get right with the law. If you're a criminal, you'll be deported. If you plan to enter the U.S. illegally, your chances of getting caught and sent back just went up.

The actions I'm taken are not only lawful, they're the kinds of actions taken by every single Republican president and every single Democratic president for the past half century.

And to those members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better or question the wisdom of me acting where Congress has failed, I have one answer: Pass a bill. I want to work with both parties to pass a more permanent legislative solution. And the day I sign that bill into law, the actions I take will no longer be necessary.

Meanwhile, don't let a disagreement over a single issue be a deal breaker on every issue. That's not how our Democracy works, and Congress shouldn't shut down our government again just because we disagree on this.

Americans are tired of gridlock. What our country needs right now is a common purpose, a higher purpose. Most Americans support the types of reforms I've talked about tonight, but I understand with the disagreements held by many of you at home.

Millions of us, myself included, go back generations in this country, with ancestors who put in the painstaking work to become citizens. So we don't like the notion anyone might get a free pass to American citizenship.

I know some worry immigration will change the very fabric of who we are, or take our jobs, or stick it to middle-class families at a time they already feel they've gotten a raw deal for over a decade. I hear those concerns, but that's not what these steps would do.

Our history and the facts show that immigrants are a net plus for our economy and our society. And I believe it's important that all of us have this debate without impugning each other's character.

Because for all the back and forth in Washington, we have to remember that this debate is about something bigger. It's about who we are a country and who we want to be for future generations.

Are we a nation that tolerates the hypocrisy of a system where workers who pick our fruit and make our beds never have a chance to get right with the law? Or are we a nation that gives them a chance to make amends, take responsibility, and give their kids a better future?

Are we a nation that accepts the cruelty of ripping children from their parents' arms, or are we a nation that values families and works together to keep them together? Are we a nation that educates the world's best and brightest in our universities only to send them home to create businesses in countries that compete against us, or are we a nation that encourages them to stay and create jobs here, create businesses here, create industries right here in America? That's what this debate is all about.

We need more than politics as usual when it comes to immigration. We need reasoned, thoughtful, compassionate debate that focuses on our hopes, not our fears. I know the politics of this issue are tough, but let me tell you why I have come to feel so strongly about it. Over the past years I've seen the determination of immigrant fathers who worked two or three jobs without taking a dime from the government, and at risk any moment of losing it all just to build a better life for their kids. I've seen the heartbreak and anxiety of children whose mothers might be taken away from them just because they didn't have the right papers. I've seen the courage of students who except for the circumstances of their birth are as American as Malia or Sasha, students who bravely come out as undocumented in hopes they could make a difference in the country they love.

These people, our neighbors, our classmates, our friends, they did not come here in search of a free ride or an easy life. They came to work, and study and serve in our military. And, above all, contribute to American success.

Now tomorrow I'll travel to Las Vegas and meet with some of these students, including a young woman named Astrid Silva. Astrid was brought to America when she was 4 years old. Her only possessions were a cross, her doll, and the frilly dress she had on. When she started school, she didn't speak any English. She caught up to other kids by reading newspapers and watching PBS. And then she became a good student. Her father worked in landscaping. Her mom cleaned other people's homes. They wouldn't let Astrid apply to a technology magnet school, not because they didn't love her, but because they were afraid the paperwork would out her as an undocumented immigrant. So she applied behind their back and got in.

Still, she mostly lived in the shadows until her grandmother, who visited every year from Mexico, passed away, and she couldn't travel to the funeral without risk of being found out and deported. It was around that time she decided to begin advocating for herself and others like her. And today Astrid Silva a college student working on her third degree.

Are we a nation that kicks out a striving, hopeful immigrant like Astrid?

Or are we a nation that finds a way to welcome her in? Scripture tells us, we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger. We were strangers once, too.

My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too. And whether our forbearers were strangers who crossed the Atlantic, or the Pacific or the Rio Grande, we are here only because this country welcomed them in and taught them that to be an American is about something more than what we look like or what our last names are, or how we worship. What makes us Americans is our shared commitment to an ideal, that all of us are created equal, and all of us have the chance to make of our lives what we will. That's the country our parents and grandparents and generations before them built for us. That's the tradition we must uphold. That's the legacy we must leave for those who are yet to come.

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless this country we love.









  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor closed indefinitely

    Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor closed indefinitely

    Saturday, May 26 2018 2:33 PM EDT2018-05-26 18:33:58 GMT

    HONOLULU (AP) - Engineers say damage to the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu was worse than expected and it will remain closed indefinitely.    Hawaii News Now reports boat transportation to the attraction was suspended May 6 after one of the vessel operators noticed a crack on the outside of the memorial. 

    >>

    HONOLULU (AP) - Engineers say damage to the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu was worse than expected and it will remain closed indefinitely.    Hawaii News Now reports boat transportation to the attraction was suspended May 6 after one of the vessel operators noticed a crack on the outside of the memorial. 

    >>
  • Mysterious wolf-like creature shot in Montana

    Mysterious wolf-like creature shot in Montana

    Thursday, May 24 2018 7:58 PM EDT2018-05-24 23:58:21 GMT
    Image Courtesy KXLO via KFBBImage Courtesy KXLO via KFBB
    Image Courtesy KXLO via KFBBImage Courtesy KXLO via KFBB

    DENTON, Mont. - A large wolf-like animal was shot and killed May 16 by a rancher near Denton, Montana. It now has wildlife officials and the public wondering what it was, according to KFBB. The animal came within several hundred yards of the rancher’s livestock. Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP) said in a statement the rancher shot it and reported it as required by law. The animal was a young, non-lactating female and a canid, a 

    >>

    DENTON, Mont. - A large wolf-like animal was shot and killed May 16 by a rancher near Denton, Montana. It now has wildlife officials and the public wondering what it was, according to KFBB. The animal came within several hundred yards of the rancher’s livestock. Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP) said in a statement the rancher shot it and reported it as required by law. The animal was a young, non-lactating female and a canid, a 

    >>
  • FIRST ON KHQ: Former Spokane NAACP president Rachel Dolezal facing felony theft charges for welfare fraud

    FIRST ON KHQ: Former Spokane NAACP president Rachel Dolezal facing felony theft charges for welfare fraud

    Friday, May 25 2018 2:09 AM EDT2018-05-25 06:09:50 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Former Spokane Chapter NAACP President Rachel Dolezal is now facing legal trouble that could land her behind bars. KHQ has confirmed that Dolezal, who legally changed her name to Nkechi Diallo in 2016, is accused of 1st Degree Theft by Welfare Fraud, Perjury in the 2nd Degree, and False Verification for Public Assistance.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Former Spokane Chapter NAACP President Rachel Dolezal is now facing legal trouble that could land her behind bars. KHQ has confirmed that Dolezal, who legally changed her name to Nkechi Diallo in 2016, is accused of 1st Degree Theft by Welfare Fraud, Perjury in the 2nd Degree, and False Verification for Public Assistance. Her potential punishment under RCW 74.08.331 could include up to 15 years in prison.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Adams County woman considered "danger to children" turns herself in; child safe

    Adams County woman considered "danger to children" turns herself in; child safe

    Saturday, May 26 2018 9:47 PM EDT2018-05-27 01:47:36 GMT
    Yoci L. Godinez-BustosYoci L. Godinez-Bustos

    RITZVILLE, Wash.- UPDATE: The Adams County Sheriff's Office says Yoci Godinez-Bustos turned herself in to authorities Saturday. Adams County deputies said on Facebook that the baby she was traveling with is safe and thanked her family members and friends who helped her decide to turn herself in.

    >>

    RITZVILLE, Wash.- UPDATE: The Adams County Sheriff's Office says Yoci Godinez-Bustos turned herself in to authorities Saturday. Adams County deputies said on Facebook that the baby she was traveling with is safe and thanked her family members and friends who helped her decide to turn herself in.

    >>
  • Seoul: North Korea committed to US summit, denuclearization

    Seoul: North Korea committed to US summit, denuclearization

    Saturday, May 26 2018 9:35 PM EDT2018-05-27 01:35:07 GMT

    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - South Korea's president says North Korean leader Kim Jong Un remains committed to holding a summit with President Donald Trump and to the "complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."    South Korean President Moon Jae-in met Kim at the border on Saturday for the second time in a month to discuss how to keep Kim's summit with Trump on a track. 

    >>

    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - South Korea's president says North Korean leader Kim Jong Un remains committed to holding a summit with President Donald Trump and to the "complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."    South Korean President Moon Jae-in met Kim at the border on Saturday for the second time in a month to discuss how to keep Kim's summit with Trump on a track. 

    >>
  • Racist flyers pop up all over downtown Spokane again

    Racist flyers pop up all over downtown Spokane again

    Saturday, May 26 2018 9:33 PM EDT2018-05-27 01:33:48 GMT

    Spokane, Wash. These flyers were found once again on Saturday placed all over downtown Spokane. Back in March, a group called Identity Evropa put racist posters on Eastern Universities campus. Roberto Rodriguez was walking downtown and happened to catch a glimpse of the flyers "With these posters my thoughts on them is why are we having them up?" questioned Rodriguez. Roberto understands that groups have the right to free speech. But Roberto wants...

    >>

    Spokane, Wash. These flyers were found once again on Saturday placed all over downtown Spokane. Back in March, a group called Identity Evropa put racist posters on Eastern Universities campus. Roberto Rodriguez was walking downtown and happened to catch a glimpse of the flyers "With these posters my thoughts on them is why are we having them up?" questioned Rodriguez. Roberto understands that groups have the right to free speech. But Roberto wants...

    >>