Weekly Address: President Obama – Celebrating Immigrant Heritage Month

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the President recognized Immigrant Heritage Month, an occasion that allows us to celebrate our origins as a nation of immigrants. The basic idea of welcoming people to our shores is central to our ancestry and our way of life. That’s why the President asked everyone to visit whitehouse.gov/NewAmericans and share stories of making it to America.

And as we celebrate our heritage and our diversity, the President promised to continue to fight to fix our current broken immigration system and make it more just and more fair, strengthening America in the process.

Transcript: WEEKLY ADDRESS: Celebrating Immigrant Heritage Month

Hi everybody. One of the remarkable things about America is that nearly all of our families originally came from someplace else. We’re a nation of immigrants. It’s a source of our strength and something we all can take pride in. And this month – Immigrant Heritage Month – is a chance to share our American stories.

I think about my grandparents in Kansas – where they met and where my mom was born. Their family tree reached back to England and Ireland and elsewhere. They lived, and raised me, by basic values: working hard, giving back, and treating others the way you want to be treated.

I think of growing up in Hawaii, a place enriched by people of different backgrounds – native Hawaiian, Filipino, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese and just about everything else. Growing up in that vibrant mix helped shape who I am today. And while my father was not an immigrant himself, my own life journey as an African-American – and the heritage shared by Michelle and our daughters, some of whose ancestors came here in chains – has made our family who we are.

This month, I’m inviting you to share your story, too. Just visit whitehouse.gov/NewAmericans. We want to hear how you or your family made it to America – whether you’re an immigrant yourself or your great-great-grandparents were.

Of course, we can’t just celebrate this heritage, we have to defend it – by fixing our broken immigration system. Nearly two years ago, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate came together to do that. They passed a commonsense bill to secure our border, get rid of backlogs, and give undocumented immigrants who are already living here a pathway to citizenship if they paid a fine, paid their taxes, and went to the back of the line. But for nearly two years, Republican leaders in the House have refused to even allow a vote on it.

That’s why, in the meantime, I’m going to keep doing everything I can to make our immigration system more just and more fair. Last fall, I took action to provide more resources for border security; focus enforcement on the real threats to our security; modernize the legal immigration system for workers, employers, and students; and bring more undocumented immigrants out of the shadows so they can get right with the law. Some folks are still fighting against these actions. I’m going to keep fighting for them. Because the law is on our side. It’s the right thing to do. And it will make America stronger.

I want us to remember people like Ann Dermody from Alexandria, Virginia. She’s originally from Ireland and has lived in America legally for years. She worked hard, played by the rules and dreamed of becoming a citizen. In March, her dream came true. And before taking the oath, she wrote me a letter. “The papers we receive…will not change our different accents [or] skin tones,” Ann said. “But for that day, at least, we’ll feel like we have arrived.”

Well, to Ann and immigrants like her who have come to our shores seeking a better life – yes, you have arrived. And by sharing our stories, and staying true to our heritage as a nation of immigrants, we can keep that dream alive for generations to come.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.

Bolding added.



  1. Pew Polls released a survey on attitudes towards undocumented immigrants this past week:

    With immigration shaping up to be a major issue in both the final years of the Obama administration and the 2016 presidential campaign, most Americans (72%) continue to say undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S. should be allowed to stay in the country legally, if certain requirements are met. […]

    About half (51%) say immigrants today strengthen the country because of their hard work and talents, while 41% say immigrants are a burden because they take jobs, housing and health care. The share saying that immigrants strengthen the country has declined six percentage points since last year. […]

    Overall, most Americans reject the idea that giving those who came to the U.S. illegally a path to legal status is in essence “rewarding” them for bad behavior. Nearly six-in-ten (58%) say they do not think of a path to legal status in these terms, while 36% say it is “like rewarding them for doing something wrong.”

    Despite these numbers, only 37% approve of President Obama’s handling of immigration. I suspect part of that is because they believe the captive media’s assertions that he is doing something illegal or unlawful. But since 48% of Latinos disapprove, there is certainly the possibility that the disapproval is both from people who think he is moving too quickly and those who think he is moving too slowly.

  2. Live: President Obama at Beau Biden’s funeral, scheduled for 10:30am Eastern:

  3. Both Ron’s and my great grandparents were immigrants……his from a German colony in Russia and from Denmark, and mine from Germany and Wales. The stories of how they found their way west and built a life in this country are fading from family memory though. His mother’s father was a baker. I need to remember to find her recipes because he taught her well.

      • Bellingham is about 20 miles from the Canadian border, with just fields and simple fences separating in many places. But increased Homeland Security presence has made border crossing more difficult…….black helicopters are really here!

        We have passports and enhanced drivers licenses, but now I need to have papers for the grand kids if we take them to Vancouver, BC this summer.

        • It was easier when there was no one watching except the moose in the woods of Maine.

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