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WASHINGTON – First Lady Michelle Obama urged overhauling the nation’s immigration laws Wednesday while presiding over a naturalization ceremony for 50 new U.S. citizens at the National Archives.
“Folks are still debating whether or not to fix our immigration system even though just about everyone agrees that it is broken,” she said.
She said President Obama continued to make immigration revisions his top legislative priority, despite the inability to get Congress to go along.
Action by Congress is more unlikely since House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia was defeated in a GOP primary in part because he was willing to compromise with Democrats on an overhaul.
“He refuses to give up the fight, because at the end of the day this fight isn’t about abstract principles; it’s about real people,” the first lady said of her husband.
Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson delivered the oath of allegiance, the promise that naturalization candidates recite.
“Ever since you’ve been in this country, someone will look at you, listen to your accent and ask your name — and they’ll ask you where you are from,” he said. “From this day forward, you can say, ‘I’m an American.’ Just like that.”
The United States naturalizes 600,000 to 700,000 candidates every year.