President Obama has just given his state of the nation address. During the speech he urged the U.S. Congress to pass immigration reform, noting that the country's economy is stronger when it takes advantage of the "talent and ingenuity" of immigrants. Below is a portion of the speech in English, along with my Spanish translation, where he explains his vision for immigration reform:
Now, to grow our middle class, our citizens must have access to the education and training that today's jobs require. But we also have to make sure that America remains a place where everyone who is willing to work - everyone who is willing to work hard has the opportunity to get ahead.
Our economy is stronger when we can tap into the talent and ingenuity of struggling and hopeful immigrants. (Applause.) And right now, leaders of business, labor, law enforcement, the faith communities - all agree that the time has come to pass comprehensive immigration reform. (Applause.) Now is the time to do it. Now is the time to do it. Now is the time to do it. (Applause.)
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 level in 40 years.
Real reform means establishing a path to citizenship that is accountable and earned - a path that includes a background check, paying taxes and a significant fine, learning English, and going to the back of the line behind the people who are already trying to come here legally. (Applause.)
And real reform means fixing the legal immigration system to reduce wait times and attract highly skilled entrepreneurs and engineers who will help create jobs and grow our economy. (Applause.)
In other words, we know what needs to be done. And right now, bipartisan groups in both chambers are working diligently to draft a bill, and I applaud their efforts. So let's get it done. Send me a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the next few months, and I will sign it immediately. And America will be better off for it. (Applause.) Let's do it. Let's get it done.
But we cannot stop here. We know that our economy is stronger when our wives, our mothers, our daughters can live their lives free from discrimination in the workplace, and free from the fear of domestic violence. Today, the Senate passed the Violence Against Women Act that Joe Biden originally wrote nearly 20 years ago. And now I urge the House to do the same. (Applause.) Good job, Joe! And I ask this Congress to declare that women should earn a wage that matches their efforts, and finally pass the Paycheck Fairness Act this year. (Applause.)