US always has been a nation of immigrants, says Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks at a naturalization ceremony for active duty service members and civilians at the White House in Washington on Friday.

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks at a naturalization ceremony for active duty service members and civilians at the White House in Washington on Friday.

WASHINGTON: Celebrating the ethnic diversity of America, President Barack Obama said more than two dozen foreign-born military members who became US citizens at the White House on the Fourth of July are vivid reminders that welcoming immigrants “is central to our way of life.”

He pleaded anew for new immigration policies, saying the vast range of backgrounds and experiences that has made America a melting pot for more than 200 years also makes the country stronger. He argued that the system must be changed for the US to remain the greatest nation on earth.

“The basic idea of welcoming immigrants to our shores is central to our way of life, it is in our DNA,” Obama said after the 25 service members representing 15 countries raised their right hands and pledged allegiance to the United States.

“From all these different strands, we make something new here in America. And that’s why, if we want to keep attracting the best and brightest from beyond our borders, we’re going to have to fix our immigration system, which is broken,” he said.

Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, a Cuban who became a naturalized citizen in 1973, administered the oath of allegiance. The immigration issue is earning renewed attention because of the influx to the US of tens of thousands of unaccompanied children from Central America.

 

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