by Matt Saldaña
On a recent interview with WUNC, Barack Obama was asked to weigh in on the N.C. Community College System's decision to extend its ban on illegal immigrants attending degree-granting programs. Here's what he had to say, after the jump:
The first thing is, we shouldn’t have illegal immigrants here—by tightening up border security, cracking down on employers who are hiring undocumented workers, and then giving a pathway to citizenship to those who are already here, so they have some type of legal status. That would solve the problem.
But, we’ve tended to demagogue this issue, instead of recognizing we’re are a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws.[...]
I’m one of the co-sponsors of the Dream Act in the Senate, which I think goes to the core ideals of America. It says, if you’ve got a young person who was brought here by their parents—say they were brought here at five years old, went to public school all their lives, they’ve now graduated—for all intents and purposes, they’re an American kid. For us to deny them access to community colleges, even though they’ve never lived in Mexico—at least, as far as they can tell—or they’ve never lived in Poland [...] is to deny that this is how we’ve always built this country up. We don’t want them in the underground economy; we want them contributing. And it makes sense to provide them some pathway. If they’ve been here a certain period of time, and they’ve been good citizens, let’s try to figure out how we can work them into the fabric of our society.