Obama Makes Economic Pitch for Immigration Actions

Obama Says He Will Work With Constructive Protesters 1:50

Immigrants are job creators who “are good for the economy” and help boost all Americans’ wages, President Barack Obama said Tuesday while making the case for his recent executive actions on immigration.

“Being a nation of immigrants gives us this huge entrepreneurial advantage over other nations,” Obama told a crowd in Chicago. “If you are willing to strike out, go to someplace new, build from scratch, you got that sense of being willing to take risks...That’s part of what the American spirit is all about.”

It is the latest stop on the president’s roadshow to sell his executive actions on immigration that could help five million undocumented immigrants stay in the country. Obama made clear in his hometown that immigration is not just a Latino issue and his actions will help people from all over the globe.

As has been common in many of Obama’s speeches on immigration, his remarks were interrupted by protesters calling on the president to stop deportations.

“I understand why you might have yelled at me a month ago, although I disagree with some of your characterizations, it doesn’t make sense to yell at me right now when we’re making changes,” Obama told the handful of protesters.

Americans are divided on the president’s unilateral action, which was met with heavy opposition from Republicans in Congress. GOP leaders say it has vanquished the chances of working with the White House to pass sweeping reform, while Obama insists it was the only way to deal with the growing problem since House Republicans have failed to act.

Last week, Obama traveled to Las Vegas where he called on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform that would make his executive actions unnecessary. White House officials have indicated more events are planned for the president to travel and sell his actions on immigration.