WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama was addressing the nation on Thursday night about executive actions on immigration. His plan would spare millions from deportation and allow them to work legally in the United States. The moves mark the most sweeping changes to the nation's fractured immigration laws in nearly three decades.
An excerpt of Obama's remarks, released in advance by the White House:
"That's the real amnesty - leaving this broken system the way it is. Mass amnesty would be unfair. Mass deportation would be both impossible and contrary to our character. What I'm describing is accountability - a commonsense, middle ground approach: If you meet the criteria, you can come out of the shadows and get right with the law. If you're a criminal, you'll be deported. If you plan to enter the U.S. illegally, your chances of getting caught and sent back just went up."
"The actions I'm taking are not only lawful, they're the kinds of actions taken by every single Republican president and every Democratic president for the past half-century. And to those members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better, or question the wisdom of me acting where Congress has failed, I have one answer: Pass a bill."