“Obama pledges help for illegal immigrant grads
By ERICA WERNER
Associated Press Writer
MIAMI (AP) — Stepping up his demand to change the nation’s immigration laws, President Barack Obama on Friday promised graduates at a vast, multicultural community college that he’ll keep working to help students not legally in the U.S. to become American citizens.
The president’s renewed endorsement of the DREAM Act, which has become a rallying cry for Hispanic and other students around the country, drew enthusiastic applause from more than 3,000 graduates of Miami Dade College at their commencement ceremony. The students are part of an increasingly important political constituency in a state that will be crucial to the president’s 2012 re-election hopes.
The college graduates more Hispanic students than any other higher education institution in the U.S. Obama took note that some students had recently identified themselves publicly as immigrants without legal status in the country.
“Some were brought here as young children and discovered the truth only as adults,” he said. “They put their futures on the line in hopes they will spur the rest of us to live up to our most cherished values.”
It was Obama’s first commencement address of this graduation season. He called on students to take responsibility for the future and portrayed the United States as an optimistic land with vast opportunities. But the speech had a clear political tone as well, demanding that older Americans have proper access to health care and calling for an overhaul of the immigration system.
Obama has made little progress on his commitment to immigration changes since taking office, discouraging some Latino voters and particularly students.”