It is -- it is the right thing to do.
OBAMA: Excuse me, sir. It’s not time for questions, sir.
QUESTION: Are you going to take questions?
OBAMA: Not while I’m speakin’.
Precisely because this is temporary Congress needs to act.
OBAMA: There’s still time for Congress to pass the DREAM Act this year, because these kids deserve to plan their lives in more than two-year increments.
And we still need to pass comprehensive immigration reform that addresses our 21st-century economic and security needs: reform that gives our farmers and ranchers certainty about the workers that they’ll have; reform that gives our science and technology sectors certainty that the young people who come here to earn their Ph.D.s won’t be forced to leave and start new businesses in other countries; reform that continues to improve our border security and lives up to our heritage as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.
Just six years ago the unlikely trio of John McCain, Ted Kennedy and President Bush came together to champion this kind of reform. And I was proud to join 23 Republicans in voting for it, so there’s no reason that we can’t come together and get this done.
And as long as I’m president, I will not give up on this issue, not only because it’s the right thing to do for our economy -- and CEOs agree with me -- not just because it’s the right thing to do for our security, but because it’s the right thing to do, period. And I believe that eventually enough Republicans in Congress will come around to that view as well.
And I believe it’s the right thing to do because I’ve been with groups of young people who work so hard and speak with so much heart about what’s best in America, even though I knew some of them must have lived under the fear of deportation. I know some have come forward at great risks to themselves and their futures in hopes it would spur the rest of us to live up to our own most cherished values.
OBAMA: And I’ve seen the stories of Americans and schools and churches and communities across the country who stood up for it and rallied behind them and pushed us to give them a better path and freedom from fear, because we’re a better nation than one that expels innocent young kids.
And the answer to your question, sir -- and the next time I’d prefer you let me finish my statements before you ask that question -- is this is the right thing to do for the American people.
OBAMA: Dave Beeka (ph), I didn’t -- I didn’t ask for an argument. I’m answering your question.
OBAMA: It is the right thing to do for the American people, and here’s why...
OBAMA: Here’s the reason: because these young people are gonna make extraordinary contributions and are already making contributions to our society.
I’ve got a young person who is serving in our military, protecting us and our freedom; the notion that in some ways we would treat them as expendable makes no sense.
If there’s a young person here who has grown up here and wants to contribute to this society, wants to maybe start a business that will create jobs for other folks who are looking for work, that’s the right thing to do.
Giving certainty to our farmers and our ranchers, making sure that in addition to border security that we’re creating a comprehensive framework for legal immigration, these are all the right things to do.
We have always drawn strength from being a nation of immigrants as well as a nation of laws, and that’s gonna continue. And my hope is that Congress recognizes that and get -- gets behind this effort.
Thank you very much, everybody.