President Obama is condemning Republicans for standing up for immigration laws, accusing them of being anti-American.
“You’ve got to recognize that America’s greatness does not come from building walls,” he said at a gala for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. He’s likely referring to Republican frontrunner Donald Trump’s dramatic proposal to stop illegal immigration.
Obama said that while “anti-immigrant sentiment” was not new to politics in America, it was wrong, citing the Irish and Italians that once suffered stereotypes similar to Hispanics today. He also dismissed the suggestion that somehow immigrants in the past were all legal, and used a straw man argument to suggest that opponents of amnesty were racist.
“When I hear folks talking as if somehow those kids are different from my kids, as if they’re less worthy in the eyes of God, that somehow their families are less worthy of our respect and consideration and care, as if somehow back in the day everybody had their papers in order when they came here, but now suddenly nobody has their papers in order – I believe we’re better than that,” he said.
He also cited former President George W. Bush, recognizing his push for immigration reform and lamenting the fact that Republicans blocked that reform as well.
“Think how much better our economy would be if the rest of his party got the message,” he said. “Think about how much better off our country would be if Republican politicians hadn’t spent years precisely trying to scare voters with tales of immigrants flooding across our borders and taking our jobs, and destroying America as we know it.”