Barnes & Nobleinfoseekad



Related Stories



Clinton: U.S. 'Must Not Lock The Door' On Immigration

President Clinton at Portland State University's commencement  

Calls measures aimed at immigrants 'un-American'

PORTLAND, Ore. (AllPolitics, June 13) -- President Bill Clinton issued a strong call Saturday for Americans to welcome new immigrants to the United States, saying "the descendants of those who passed through the portals of Ellis Island must not lock the door."

"Let me state unequivocally -- I believe new immigrants are good for America," Clinton said at Portland State University's commencement. "They are revitalizing our cities ... They are renewing our values, and they are reminding all of us what it truly means to be an American."

More than 1 million legal immigrants enter the United States each year, joined by an untold number of illegal immigrants. This tide has become a hot-button issue in recent years, most notably in California, where voters have passed initiatives denying illegal immigrants access to public services, and curtailing bilingual education.

Clinton denounced the bilingual education initiative and efforts by congressional Republicans to deny food stamps to legal immigrants as policies born out of anti-immigrant fear.

"My fellow Americans, it is more than wrong. It is un-American," he said.

No majority race in U.S. in 50 years

Clinton noted that there is no longer a majority race in Hawaii, and said the same will be true in California within five years. Projections show there will be no majority race in the United States in about 50 years, Clinton said.

And he said that on average, immigrants annually pay $1,800 more in taxes than they cost the government in health, education or other benefits.

But Clinton also focused part of his remarks on the responsibility immigrants have to their new country, exhorting them to "embrace our culture, learn our language, know our history."

"I believe that America is honor-bound to share our country with immigrants, not shun them or shut them out," Clinton said. "But I believe this as well: We cannot be blind to the fact that immigration of this sweep and scope can threaten our union."

"Around the world, we have seen what can happen when people who live on the same land put race and ethnicity before country and humanity," he said, referring to countries such as Bosnia that have been pulled apart by ethnic strife.

He also lamented that too many children of immigrants, particularly Hispanic immigrants, drop out of school and don't learn English.

"Making sure our children learn English must not be a distant goal -- it must be our first order of business," he said.

In Other News

Saturday, June 13, 1998

Clinton: U.S. 'Must Not Lock The Door' On Immigration
President Urges Action To Prevent Youth Violence

Archives   |   CQ News   |   TIME On Politics   |   Feedback   |   Help

Copyright © 1998 AllPolitics All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this information is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.
Who we are.