WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama on Tuesday reiterated that he wants comprehensive reform of U.S. immigration laws and said that his government is punishing employers “who are taking advantage of undocumented workers.”
Obama addressed the issue during a gathering in the backyard of a family home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, as part of his political tour to support Democratic candidates in the Nov. 2 midterm congressional elections.
The United States is a “nation of laws so we’ve got to make sure that our immigration system is orderly and fair,” the president said, adding that it is as important to control the entry of immigrants as it is to provide a pathway toward legalizing their immigration status for those people who are already in the United States illegally.
“Folks who are waiting, whether it’s in Mexico City or in Nairobi, Kenya, or in Warsaw, Poland – if they’re waiting there filling out their forms and doing everything legally and properly and it takes them five years or six years or 10 years before they’re finally here and made legal, well, it’s not fair to them if folks can just come and ignore those laws,” Obama said.
“Let’s make sure that the legal immigration system is more fair and efficient than it is right now because if the waiting times were lessened then a lot of people would be more prone to go through a legal route than through an illegal route,” the president said.
“Let’s make sure that we’re cracking down on employers to treat all workers fairly,” he continued. “And let’s provide a pathway to citizenship for those who are already here, understanding that they broke the law, so they’re going to have to pay a fine and pay back taxes and I think learn English, make sure that they don’t have a criminal record.”
“Immigrants can actually be a huge source of strength to the country,” the president said. EFE