As President Donald Trump prepares to deliver the State of the Union address on Tuesday, and with the debate over illegal immigration dominating national headlines, it’s worth taking a look back at what former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama said about the subject during their State of the Union addresses.
In 1995, Clinton slammed illegal immigration, stating:
We are a generous and welcoming people here in the United States — but those who enter the country illegally, and those who employ them, disrespect the rule of law. They are showing disregard for those who are following the law. We simply cannot allow people to pour into the United States undetected, undocumented, unchecked, and circumventing the line of people who are waiting patiently and lawfully to become immigrants.
In 2013, Obama also criticized illegal immigration, stating:
Real reform means strong border security, and we can build on the progress my Administration has already made — putting more boots on the southern border than at any time in our history, and reducing illegal crossings to their lowest levels in 40 years.
Real reform means establishing a responsible pathway to earned citizenship — a path that includes passing a background check, paying taxes and a meaningful penalty, learning English, and going to the back of the line behind the folks trying to come here legally.
And real reform means fixing the legal immigration system to cut waiting periods, reduce bureaucracy, and attract the highly-skilled entrepreneurs and engineers that will help create jobs and grow our economy.