On Thursday, President Barack Obama said illegal immigrant DREAMers who come out of the shadows and demand legalization–often ahead of legal immigrants and those still waiting in line–represent what it means to be American.
Speaking at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Dinner, Obama promised to enact his executive amnesty by the end of this year and then said, “the young person who comes out of the shadows to demand the right to dream. That’s what America is about.”
“DREAMer is more than just a title, it’s a pretty good description of what it means to be an American,” Obama said.
Before that, Obama said, “America isn’t Congress. America isn’t Washington. America is the striving immigrant who starts a business or the mom who works two low-wage jobs to give her kid a better life. America is the union leader and the CEO who put aside their differences to make the economy stronger. America is the student who defies the odds to become the first in his family to go to college. The citizen who defies the cynics and goes out there and votes.”
Obama, who has given temporary amnesty to qualifying illegal immigrant DREAMers via his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, also invoked Cesar Chavez in his speech, even though Chavez was opposed to amnesty for illegal immigrants because it would lower the wages of legal immigrants and Americans.
Obama, who delayed his promised executive amnesty to help Senate Democrats keep control of the Senate, conceded that the American public does not support a comprehensive amnesty bill that would make his executive actions more permanent. He said he would spend the next months trying to convince Americans why comprehensive amnesty legislation, which the Congressional Budget Office determined would lower the wages of American workers, is good for everyone, and he asked Latinos to vote, have his back, and keep the pressure on Congress to ultimately pass a bill.