Immigration in the State of the Union

President Barack Obama is expected to make immigration the centerpiece of his annual State of the Union address on Tuesday. In recent years, it has been a staple of the presidential speeches to Congress, though it's typically been more of a brief highlight than the focus of the speech.

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  1. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address on Capitol Hill in 2012. (AP Photo/Saul Loeb)
  2. President Barack Obama is expected to make immigration the centerpiece of his annual State of the Union address on Tuesday. In recent years, it has been a staple of the presidential speeches to Congress, though it's typically been more of a brief highlight than the focus of the speech.
  3. Here are all the mentions of immigration reform in the State of the Union in recent years.
  4. "All Americans, not only in the States most heavily affected but in every place in this country, are rightly disturbed by the large numbers of illegal aliens entering our country. The jobs they hold might otherwise be held by citizens or legal immigrants. The public service they use impose burdens on our taxpayers. That's why our administration has moved aggressively to secure our borders more by hiring a record number of new border guards, by deporting twice as many criminal aliens as ever before, by cracking down on illegal hiring, by barring welfare benefits to illegal aliens. In the budget I will present to you, we will try to do more to speed the deportation of illegal aliens who are arrested for crimes, to better identify illegal aliens in the workplace as recommended by the commission headed by former Congresswoman Barbara Jordan. We are a nation of immigrants. But we are also a nation of laws. It is wrong and ultimately self-defeating for a nation of immigrants to permit the kind of abuse of our immigration laws we have seen in recent years, and we must do more to stop it."
  5. "But there are some areas that the Federal Government should not leave and should address and address strongly. One of these areas is the problem of illegal immigration. After years of neglect, this administration has taken a strong stand to stiffen the protection of our borders. We are increasing border controls by 50 percent. We are increasing inspections to prevent the hiring of illegal immigrants. And tonight I announce I will sign an Executive order to deny Federal contracts to businesses that hire illegal immigrants.

  6. "Let me be very clear about this: We are still a nation of immigrants; we should be proud of it. We should honor every legal immigrant here, working hard to be a good citizen, working hard to become a new citizen. But we are also a nation of laws."
  7. "Our new immigrants must be part of our One America. After all, they're revitalizing our cities; they're energizing our culture; they're building up our economy. We have a responsibility to make them welcome here, and they have a responsibility to enter the mainstream of American life. That means learning English and learning about our democratic system of government. There are now long waiting lines of immigrants that are trying to do just that. Therefore, our budget significantly expands our efforts to help them meet their responsibility. I hope you will support it."
  8. "We should do more to help new immigrants to fully participate in our community. That's why I recommend spending more to teach them civics and English. ... Within 10 years -- just 10 years -- there will be no majority race in our largest state of California. In a little more than 50 years, there will be no majority race in America. In a more interconnected world, this diversity can be our greatest strength. Just look around this chamber. Look around. We have members in this Congress from virtually every racial, ethnic, and religious background. And I think you would agree that America is stronger because of it."
  9. "Tonight I also ask you to reform our immigration laws so they reflect our values and benefit our economy. I propose a new temporary-worker program to match willing foreign workers with willing employers when no Americans can be found to fill the job. This reform will be good for our economy because employers will find needed workers in an honest and orderly system. A temporary-worker program will help protect our homeland, allowing Border Patrol and law enforcement to focus on true threats to our national security.

  10. "I oppose amnesty, because it would encourage further illegal immigration and unfairly reward those who break our laws. My temporary-worker program will preserve the citizenship path for those who respect the law while bringing millions of hard-working men and women out from the shadows of American life."
  11. "America's immigration system is also outdated, unsuited to the needs of our economy and to the values of our country. We should not be content with laws that punish hard-working people who want only to provide for their families and deny businesses willing workers and invite chaos at our border. It is time for an immigration policy that permits temporary-guest workers to fill jobs Americans will not take, that rejects amnesty, that tells us who is entering and leaving our country, and that closes the border to drug dealers and terrorists."
  12. "We hear claims that immigrants are somehow bad for the economy, even though this economy could not function without them. All these are forms of economic retreat, and they lead in the same direction, toward a stagnant and second-rate economy. ... Keeping America competitive requires an immigration system that upholds our laws, reflects our values, and serves the interests of our economy. Our Nation needs orderly and secure borders. To meet this goal, we must have stronger immigration enforcement and border protection. And we must have a rational, humane guest-worker program that rejects amnesty, allows temporary jobs for people who seek them legally, and reduces smuggling and crime at the border." 
  13. "Extending hope and opportunity in our country requires an immigration system worthy of America, with laws that are fair and borders that are secure. When laws and borders are routinely violated, this harms the interests of our country. To secure our border, we're doubling the size of the Border Patrol and funding new infrastructure and technology."
  14. "Yet even with all these steps, we cannot fully secure the border unless we take pressure off the border, and that requires a temporary-worker program. We should establish a legal and orderly path for foreign workers to enter our country to work on a temporary basis. As a result, they won't have to try to sneak in, and that will leave border agents free to chase down drug smugglers and criminals and terrorists. We'll enforce our immigration laws at the worksite and give employers the tools to verify the legal status of their workers, so there's no excuse left for violating the law.

  15. "We need to uphold the great tradition of the melting pot that welcomes and assimilates new arrivals. We need to resolve the status of the illegal immigrants who are already in our country without animosity and without amnesty. Convictions run deep in this Capitol when it comes to immigration. Let us have a serious, civil, and conclusive debate, so that you can pass and I can sign comprehensive immigration reform into law."
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