WASHINGTON – U.S. President Barack Obama promised more than 3,000 students at Miami Dade College that he will keep fighting for immigration reform and the DREAM Act, which would allow undocumented students to be legalized.
At a graduation ceremony Friday, Obama said he strongly believes “we should fix our broken immigration system,” which won applause from the students who come from 60 different countries and many of whom are Hispanics.
In that sense, he reaffirmed once more his support for the DREAM Act, which would allow undocumented students to be legalized on condition that they join the Armed Forces or complete at least two years of university studies.
“It makes no sense to expel talented young people from our country. They grew up as Americans. They pledge allegiance to our flag. And if they are trying to serve in our military or earn a degree, they are contributing to our future – and we welcome those contributions,” Obama said.
The president said that recently some students have admitted publicly that they are in the country illegally.
“Some were brought here as young children, and discovered the truth only as adults,” he said.
“And they’ve put their futures on the line in hopes it will spur the rest of us to live up to our most cherished values,” he said, adding that the United States is “the land where all things are possible.”
As Obama made those promises, outside more than 20 students, many of them undocumented according to the local press, carried signs and shouted at the president asking him to sign an executive order to stop deportations of young people who could qualify for the DREAM Act.
“Education, not deportation,” they cried.
Inside the auditorium the president said that he cannot act without the support of Congress.
In 2008, Obama promised the Hispanic electorate immigration reform that would allow the legalization of undocumented immigrants and would improve border security, among other provisions.
The president won the elections with 67 percent of the Hispanic vote.
But failure to keep that promise has brought harsh criticism from leaders of the immigrant community – who slam the increase in raids and deportations – and from Democratic leaders in Congress.
Obama attended the graduation ceremony after visiting Alabama, the American state hit hardest by storms and tornadoes over the last few days, the most devastating in decades, authorities say.