Obama urges America to better welcome immigrants

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts administers the oath of office to President Barack Obama during the Inaugural swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 21, 2013

US President Barack Obama has embarked on his second presidential term by presenting a progressive vision of a government committed to protecting rights of all, including immigrants and gay.

“America’s possibilities are limitless,” he said, “for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention. My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it – so long as we seize it together.”

He said Americans understand that their country “cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it.”

President Obama said Americans believe that their country’s “prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class. We know that America thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work; when the wages of honest labor liberate families from the brink of hardship.”

The truth “that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still,” President Obama said.

He went on to say: “For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote.

“Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity – until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia, to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm.”

President Obama promised that the US will support democracy in Asia, Africa, the Americas and the Middle East because their interests and conscience compel them to act on behalf of those who long for freedom.  

“And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice – not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity, human dignity and justice,” he said.

By Stephen Ogongo Ongong’a