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President Obama talks about immigration at an Orange County Town Hall event in March 2009

I just met with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus today, which Congresswoman Sanchez is a member of — (applause) — to talk about this issue directly.  As many of you know, during the campaign I was asked repeatedly about this, and I reiterated my belief that we have to have comprehensive immigration reform.

Now, I know this is an emotional issue, I know it’s a controversial issue, I know that the people get real riled up politically about this, but — but ultimately, here’s what I believe:  We are a nation of immigrants, number one.

Number two, we do have to have control of our borders.  Number three, that people who have been here for a long time and put down roots here have to have some mechanism over time to get out of the shadows, because if they stay in the shadows, in the underground economy, then they are oftentimes pitted against American workers.

Since they can’t join a union, they can’t complain about minimum wages, et cetera, they end up being abused, and that depresses the wages of everybody, all Americans.  (Applause.)

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