Obama defends executive action on immigration in Chicago

LIVE STREAM: President Barack Obama will speak on immigration reform at the Copernicus Community Center in Jefferson Park at 4:35 p.m. CST Tuesday.

[dropcap]P[/dropcap]resident Barack Obama laid out the steps he’s taken to fix the nation’s “broken immigration system” last week. His remarks were made at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas on Saturday, where he first spoke about his philosophy for immigration reform two years ago.

“We are a nation of immigrants,” said Obama. “It has always given America a big advantage over other nations. It keeps our country young, dynamic and entrepreneurial. But today, our immigration system is broken, and everybody knows it.”

Earlier this year, an immigration reform bill was initially passed in the Senate but became stalled in the Republican-controlled House. Obama moved to delay an earlier executive action based on the possibility Democrats could regain control of the House after November’s midterm elections. They didn’t. Republicans took control of Congress during the Nov. 4 midterm elections in what Obama called a “very good night” for the GOP. Since then, Obama’s has said once again that he will use executive action, but also said he’d prefer Republicans to work on bipartisan reform.

“The president has taken actions that he himself has said are those of a king or an emperor, not an American president,” said House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) last Friday. He said an executive order on immigration would “undermine the rule of law” and “places lives at risk.”

Obama’s action would not grant citizenship. Instead, it would prioritize border enforcement to focus on criminals and deporting undocumented immigrants who’ve recently crossed the border. It would also require undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who have been in the country for five or more years to pass a background check and pay taxes to stay in the U.S. Additionally, it would streamline and expand work authorization for high-skilled workers currently in line for a green card.

“Nothing about this action will benefit anyone who has come to this country recently, or who might try and come to America illegally in the future,” said Obama.

At press time, Obama was expected to come to Chicago and meet with community leaders regarding immigration reform.

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