President Obama reminds the American people that all citizens of the U.S. are descended from immigrants.
Watch the full speech here:
"Immigration's always been an issue that inflames passions. That's not surprising. There are a few things that are more important to us as a society than who gets to come here and call our country home. Who gets the privilege of becoming a citizen of the United States of America. That's a big deal. When we talk about that in the abstract, it is easy sometimes for the discussion to take on a feeling of us versus them. And when that happens, a lot of folks forget that most of us used to be them. We forget that. And it's really important for us to remember history. Unless you're one of the first Americans, a Native American, you came from some place else, somebody brought you. The Irish who left behind a land of famine; the Germans who fled persecution; the Scandinavians who arrived eager to pioneer out west; the Polish, the Russians, the Italians, the Chinese, the Japanese, the West Indians -- the huddled masses who came through Ellis Island on one coast and Angel Island on the other. All those folks before they were us, they were them. And when each new wave of immigrants arrived, they faced resistance from those who were already here. They faced hardship. They faced racism. They faced ridicule. But over time, they went about their daily lives. They earned a living as they raised a family, as they built a community, as their kids went to school here. They did their part to build the nation. They were the Einsteins and the Carnegies, but they were also the millions of women and men whose names history may not remember, but whose actions helped make us who we are, who built this country hand by hand, brick by brick. They all came here knowing that what makes somebody an American is not just blood or birth, but allegiance to our founding principles and the faith in the idea that anyone from anywhere can write the next great chapter of our story,and that's still true today."
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