Obama defends Dream Act to members of NALEO

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Bryan Levine / Valencia Voice

President Barack Obama addresses members of NALEO, Friday June 22.

 

The president brought out the Spanish to thank those in attendance for his address at the 29th annual NALEO conference in Disney. Opening up his speech by recognizing those in attendance like Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, and recently confirmed Ambassador to the Republic of El Salvador Mari Carmen Aponte.

Barack Obama also made a general acknowledgment of everyone in attendance by recognizing their impact across the country and how they have “dedicated themselves to make people’s lives a little better.”

He also acknowledged the growing “frustration and hardships that are taking place” within the Latino community, and agreed with Romney’s comment on Thursday, that these elections are about the future of America.

Without getting too far into immigration at the beginning of his speech, Obama talked about families coming to America for a better life. How it didn’t matter where or when your family immigrated into this country, American is a land of dreamers and risk takers.

“People don’t come here looking for handouts, we are a nation of strivers and climbers and entrepreneurs, the hardest working people on earth,” said Obama. “And nobody personifies these American values, these American traits more than the Latino community. That is the essence of who you are.”

President Obama presented the idea of a country where responsibility and hard work can still be rewarded and lead to a better life. Where parents can send their kids to college, save money for retirement and not go bankrupt when they get sick.

“Of course the economy is not where it needs to be, of course there are still too many who struggle,” said Obama, telling people to ask the right questions like “how do we make the economy grow faster? What vision are we going to stand for? Who are we going to fight for? And what version of America do we believe in?”

For these reasons Obama says his administration expanded Pell Grants, which will give over 150 thousand Latinos the chance to go to college, and invested in community colleges that are a gateway to better jobs for Americans.

He also mentioned the schools across the United States that have vowed to raise standards by extending creativity and giving every child a chance. The tax cuts he has made to small business, as most small business now are opened by Latinos, and his health insurance policy, which he called “the right thing to do.”

“We are not done yet, we have more to do,” said Obama. “We need to put more good teachers in our classrooms. We need to get colleges and universities to bring down the cost of tuition to make it more affordable for more young people. We need to invest in new research and innovation especially new sources of energy.”

President Obama talked about the different views between Democrats and Republicans and how it can slow down progress in congress. He spoke of strengthening the middle class in order to help the American economy.

This lead as a gateway to immigration, as he talked about not only his dream act but also the need for a permanent solution to immigration through congress.

“What is also needed is immigration reform that finally lives up to our heritage as a nation of laws and as a nation of immigrants and continues the American story of renewal and energy and dynamism that’s made us who we are.”

On immigration President Obama talked about young illegals that consider themselves Americans but have to leave in fear of deportation, a problem he says he addressed with the DREAM act, which congress has not passed.

In his speech he also made it clear he will use any means and powers he possess to help immigrants in America.

“These makes no sense, this is not good for America, and as long as I’m president of the United States I will not give up the fight,” said Obama. “In the face of a congress that refuses to do anything on immigration I’ve said that I’ll take action wherever I can.”

Obama closed his speech by bringing the issues home using himself as an example.

“Every single day I walk into the oval office, everyday that I have this extraordinary privilege of being your president, I will always remember that in no other nation in the world could my story even by possible. That is something I celebrate. That is what drives me in every decision I make. To try to widen the circle of opportunity, to fight for that big and generous and optimistic country we inherit, to carry that dream forward for generations to come.”