Obama: ‘Borders Mean Something’ for the Majority of Americans

A Mexican National looks through the United States-Mexico Border wall in San Ysidro, California on Saturday, November 19, 2016. / AFP / Sandy Huffaker

A reflective President Barack Obama tells Rolling Stone about his failure to pass immigration reform, and discusses borders and the path forward for activists.

“It’s going to be important for Democrats and immigration-rights activists to recognize that for the majority of the American people, borders mean something,” he said.

Despite his executive effort to go above Congress and grant amnesty to illegal immigrants, Obama called for a solution that respected both the rule of law and America’s immigrant roots.

“Those things don’t have to be contradictory, but there have been times where in our big-heartedness around immigration, we haven’t adequately addressed how do we get the orderly and lawful part of it down,” he admitted.

Obama predicted that immigration reform would probably not happen over the next four years, but called for “smart changes” on the process of legal immigration.

He acknowledged that many in Central America were crossing the border after passing through Mexico.

“What we can do is to work along the borders in a cooperative way with Mexico so that the pressure of what are now mostly Central American immigrants into our country is handled in a humane way,” he said.

Ultimately, Obama argued, Republicans would have to address immigration reform if they didn’t want to lose support from Asians and Latinos.

“[T]here are those in the Republican Party who recognize that regardless of how this election played itself out, over time, alienating a big chunk of the Latino voters, the Asian voters, is gonna be a problem,” he said. “And that gives [Republicans] some self-interest in solving this in a sensible way.”


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