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The President's Weekly Address

June 22, 2013

Hi, everybody. Right now the United States Senate is debating a bipartisan, commonsense bill that'd be an important step toward fixing our broken immigration system.

It's a bill that would continue to strengthen security at our borders and hold employers more accountable if they knowingly hire undocumented workers so they won't have an unfair advantage over businesses that follow the law.

It's a bill that would modernize the legal immigration system so that, as we train American workers for the jobs of tomorrow, we're also attracting the highly skilled entrepreneurs and engineers who grow our economy for everyone.

It's a bill that would provide a pathway to earned citizenship for the 11 million individuals who are in this country illegally, a pathway that includes passing a background check, learning English, paying taxes and a penalty, and then going to the back of the line behind everyone trying to come here legally.

And a few days ago, a report from the Congressional Budget Office definitively showed that this bipartisan, commonsense bill will help the middle class grow our economy and shrink our deficits by making sure that every worker in America plays by the same set of rules and pays taxes like everyone else. According to this independent report, reforming our immigration system would reduce our deficits by almost a trillion dollars over the next two decades. And it will boost our economy by more than 5 percent, in part because of businesses created, investments made, and technologies invented by immigrants.

This comes on the heel of another report from the independent office that monitors Social Security's finances, which says that this immigration bill would actually strengthen the long-term health and solvency of Social Security for future generations. Because with this bill, millions of additional people will start paying more in taxes for things like Social Security and education. That'll make the economy fairer for middle class families.

So that's what comprehensive immigration reform looks like: stronger enforcement, a smarter legal immigration system, a pathway to earned citizenship, a more vibrant, growing economy that's fairer on the middle class, and a more stable fiscal future for our kids.

Now, the bill isn't perfect. It's a compromise. Nobody is going to get everything they want: not Democrats, not Republicans, not me. But it's consistent with the principles that I and others have laid out for commonsense reform. That's why Republicans and Democrats, CEOs and labor leaders, are saying that now is the time to pass this bill. If you agree with us, reach out to your Senators and Representatives. Tell them that the time for excuses is over; it's time to fix our broken immigration system once and for all.

We can do this, because we are a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants—a place enriched by the contributions of people from all over the world—and stronger for it. That's been the story of America from the start, so let's keep it going.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.

NOTE: The address was recorded at approximately 4:25 p.m. on June 21 in the Blue Room at the White House for broadcast on June 22. The transcript was made available by the Office of the Press Secretary on June 21, but was embargoed for release until 6 a.m. on June 22.

Barack Obama, The President's Weekly Address Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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