President Obama delivered the following remarks on immigration reform at the White House on Oct. 24, 2013.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you. Thank you so much. Everybody have a seat. Have a seat. (Applause.) Thank you very much. Well, please have a seat, everybody.
Good morning --
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Good morning.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: -- and welcome to the White House.
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Thank you. (Laughter.)
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Today I'm here with leaders from business, from labor, from faith communities who are united around one goal: finishing the job of fixing a broken immigration system. This is not just an idea whose time has come; this is an idea whose time has been around for years now. Leaders like all of you have worked together with Republicans and Democrats in this town in good faith for years to try to get this done, and this is the moment when we should be able to finally get the job done.
Now, it's no secret the American people haven't seen much out of Washington that that they like these days. The shutdown and the threat of the first default in more than 200 years inflicted real pain on our businesses and on families across the country, and it was a completely unnecessary self-inflicted wound with real cost to real people, and it can never happen again.
But even with the shutdown over and the threat of default eliminated, Democrats and Republicans still have some really big disagreements. There are some just fundamentally different views about how we should move forward on certain issues.
On the other hand, as I said the day after the shutdown ended, that's no reason that we shouldn't be able to work together on the things that we do agree on. We should be able to work together on a responsible budget that invests in the things that we need to grow our economy and create jobs, even while we maintain fiscal discipline. We should be able to pass a farm bill that helps rural communities grow and protects vulnerable Americans in hard times. And we should pass immigration reform. (Cheers, applause.) Pass immigration reform. (Applause.)
It's good for our economy. It's good for our national security. It's good for our people. And we should do it this year.
You know, everybody knows that our current immigration system is broken. Across the political spectrum, people understand this. We've known it for years. It's not smart to invite some of the brightest minds from around the world to study here and then not let them start businesses here. We've sent them back to their home countries to start businesses and create jobs and invent new products someplace else. It's not fair to businesses and middle-class families who play by the rules when we allow companies that are trying to undercut the rules work in the shadow economy to hire folks at lower wages or no benefits, no overtime, so that somehow they get a competitive edge for breaking the rules.
That doesn't make sense. It doesn't make sense to have 11 million people who are in this country illegally without any incentive or any way for them to come out of the shadows, get right with the law, meet their responsibilities and permit their families then to move ahead. It's not smart; it's not fair; it doesn't make sense. We have kicked this particular can down the road for too long.