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quotations about illegal immigration

I think the American people have a generous instinct. They understand that we're a nation of immigrants. But if those folks are going to live in this country, they have to be put on a pathway to citizenship that involves them paying a fine, making sure that they are at the back of the line and not cutting in front of people who applied legally to come into the country.

BARACK OBAMA, Larry King Live, Oct. 19, 2006

It's one thing to consider immigration reform as a theoretical policy issue, and another to meet real people whose lives are impacted by it. As a senator, I interact with people who flat-out tell you, "Look, my kids were hungry. And I am going to do what it takes to feed them." You think, "If I had been in that position, would I have done something different?"

MARCO RUBIO, "Marco Rubio's Modern Family," Parade Magazine, Sep. 5, 2013

The most effective way to stop illegal immigration is by imposing severe consequences for employers who violate the law.

KAREN KENNEY, Illegal Immigration

Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, remarks to the Daughters of the American Revolution, Washington, D.C., Apr. 21, 1938

The mass abuse of the nation's generous political asylum policy as a pretext for illegal immigration must be stopped. The only way to do so is to require the detention of most asylum applicants until their cases are heard and resolved. This will be costly, but so is the entry of illegal immigrants and the adverse human toll they exact on the well-being of low-skilled American workers.

VERNON M. BRIGGS, Immigration and American Unionism

A nation that cannot control its borders is not a nation.

RONALD REAGAN, attributed, International Security: A Very Short Introduction (Browning, 2013)

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

EMMA LAZARUS, "The New Colossus"

On the right, immigration opponents see hordes of illegal immigrants taking jobs away from Americans who desperately need them and consuming social services whose costs are borne by overburdened taxpayers. They see immigrants, both legal and illegal, refusing to shed their culture or to adopt American customs and speak English. They believe that illegal immigrants contribute heavily to crime, and they agonize over the inexplicable inability of the American government to secure our borders. The see immigrants voting in large numbers for Democrats who constantly expand the scope and cost of the welfare state. And they are profoundly skeptical, given past broken promises, that any grand compromise on immigration will ever result in stopping the flow of illegal immigrants.

JEB BUSH & CLINT BOLICK, Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution

The truth is, immigrants tend to be more American than people born here.


I would just say it's not good for the country to have 11 million people here who we don't know who they are, where they're living. They're not paying taxes, but they're showing up in emergency rooms. They're driving up the cost of auto insurance 'cause they don't have driver's licenses and are getting into accidents. They're having children, which are US citizens. So, I mean, it's an issue that needs to be dealt with.

MARCO RUBIO, interview with Rush Limbaugh, Apr. 18, 2013

Illegal immigrants are as much the victims of the smuggling trade as anyone, and the human price they pay just adds to the misery of the problem. Americans were aghast to hear of the 19 Mexicans who suffocated in a sealed container at a truck stop near Victoria, Texas, in May 2003, after being abandoned by their "guides." These kinds of deaths, though usually on a smaller scale, are not uncommon along the U.S.-Mexico border. Even illegal immigrants who pass safely into the United States often endure virtual slave-labor conditions. This "victimless" crime's first victims are the very people taking part.


These days, it feels to me like you make a devil's pact when you walk into this country. You hand over your passport at the check-in, you get stamped, you want to make a little money, get yourself started... but you mean to go back! Who would want to stay? Cold, wet, miserable; terrible food, dreadful newspapers - who would want to stay? In a place where you are never welcomed, only tolerated. Just tolerated. Like you are an animal finally house-trained.

ZADIE SMITH, White Teeth

All human populations are in some sense immigrants. All hostility between different cultures in one place has an aspect of the classic immigrant grudge against the next boatload approaching the shore. To defend one’s home and fields and ancestral graves against invasion seems a right. But to claim unique possession – to compound the fact of settlement with the aspect of a landscape into an abstract of eternal and immutable ownership – is a joke.


Illegal immigrants are to immigration what shoplifters are to shopping.


Any elected American official who permits, encourages, or justifies illegal entry into the United States has breached his or her oath to be loyal to the Constitution. And it is inexcusable, for he or she has slept through two centuries of history as successive waves of foreigners have legally transitioned from pluribus to unum. No other nation in the world has been as generous as the United States of America in welcoming legal aliens to enter our shores.... In spite of that, illegal immigration is used by greedy business men and their defenders in Congress to and with the blessing of the Christian churches, to subvert legal American wages and delay development in Third World nations.

PATRICK BASCIO, On the Immorality of Illegal Immigration

Legal immigration is good for America, if it's controlled and structured via the legal process, of course. But the problem is the system we have in place right now is broken. For example, it is completely family based which means that it's based not on what you can do or what talent you have or what merit you bring or what job you could fill, but rather on whether you know someone who already lives here.

MARCO RUBIO, interview with Rush Limbaugh, Apr. 18, 2013

Immigration policy has been captured by an unholy alliance that links religious organizations, ethnic groups, libertarian economists, and the powerful American Immigration Lawyers' Association--all of whom have self-interests and financial interests in maintaining the status quo--with corporate America (ranging from agribusiness to the garment industry to the health care industry to the computer industry), which has vested interests in perpetuating cheap labor policies.

VERNON M. BRIGGS, Immigration and American Unionism

History shows that it is not only senseless and cruel, but also difficult to state who is a foreigner.



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