Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Speaker is Not the King: Democracy Suspended in the U.S. House

This is an out rage. Every citizen should get angry over this power grab. They have the gall to call Obama Imperial President. Boo! Boo! Hiss! SHAME ON THEM!

The Speaker of the House partisan roll is the #1 reason we have such a problem. I call on our nation to adopt a Westminster Style Speaker of the House, making that position strictly a non-partisan seat. I believe this would solve a lot of problems with our broken House of Representatives. Please advance this idea.

"Unlike presiding officers of legislatures in many other countries, the Speaker remains strictly non-partisan, and renounces all affiliation with his or her former political party when taking office."

Speaker of the House of Commons (United Kingdom)

Liked · July 31 · 
Democracy Suspended in the U.S. House
Something just happened on the House Floor that you should know about. Very late last night House Republicans quietly changed the standing rules of the House so that only the Majority Leader or his designee could bring up the bill in question for a vote. Sound familiar? The same tactic was used by the same people last October to shut down the government and keep it shut down. In other words, democracy has once again been suspended in the House of Representatives. SHARE this video if you're sick of the sneaky, dead-of-night rule changes that have helped define this Republican Congress as the most-closed, least-transparent Congress on record.
 — at United States Capitol.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ferguson Riots: How Far Would the Government Go?

I was thinking about the Ferguson situation, with the national guard being called out and riots. That lead me to think of things like Kent State, and others, when the Draft Riots in New York entered my mind.

I thought of how far our government would go to put down riot violence. Even the Gangs of New York movie exaggerated the roll of the Federal Government in putting down the riots there, they did act with deadly effectiveness.

I urge the people in Ferguson who I heard yelling "burn it down" to tone that stuff down. I plead with any persons who wish to burn businesses and cars to stop before it is to late. If persons get to violent with this, it can be labeled an insurrection, then our government will be able to use more force to quell it. They did it before, and they will do it again if things get to far out of hand. All them National Guard Troops armed to the teeth are not just for show.

Express your discontent, but do it in a peaceful manner or nothing good will come of it. It's tough. It sucks in a number of ways. It is a situation that must be cured, but burning businesses and destroying property is not the answer. Violent riots will only lead to an escalation of violence, and the rioters will not win. They will lose against overwhelming Federal force, and more importantly the whole community will lose undeservedly.

Read about the Draft Riots in the Blog link provided.

Hot In The City : The Truth Behind The NYC Draft Riots

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Documents from the Ferguson grand jury

    Here are provided all documents that I know of concerning the grand jury decision not to indict Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown. 

Additional reports

Witness interviews

Monday, November 24, 2014

New World Order Needed to Stop Human Caused Climate Change

Here are some of the things that I believe need to be done to stop human caused global climate change. I doubt any of it will ever be done unless the worlds population goes through extreme hardship first.

The expanding human population is the reason I believe the Climate Summit the President attended with their agreements are to little, to late. There will still be a net increase in carbon emissions, and global temperatures will continue to rise. We need a net decrease, and to get it people will not like what we must do. I really am skeptical that people will be willing to do it, so we will have to continue to do as we do now, which is try to mitigate the damages.

This is what I think our species needs to do.

1. Reduce the on planet human population to 3 billion. (1959 level)
    a. Make it unlawful, and a social taboo to have more than one child per household, world wide.

2. Ground all aircraft used for civilian transport.
    a. See super-rail transport.

3. Eliminate the private ownership of automobiles.
    a. See local system of human mass transport.

4. Build a global system of super-rail transport.
    a. Construct a rail system several gauges larger than being used today.
    b. Construct bridges that would connect Alaska with Siberia, traverse the
        Straits of Gibraltar and  connect South Asia with Australia, to be used
        for the super-rail.
    c. Construct rail cars that would rival Boeing 747 aircraft in size.
        1. Power the system with solar power.
        2. Equip the super-rail cars with business suites that could be leased for
            rolling offices.

5. Build local systems of human mass transit.
    a. Buses, light rail, electric public automobiles.

6. Retrofit all private homes and all businesses with solar power systems.

7. Eliminate oil, and coal fired power generation.

8. Limit the production of animal food products like beef and pork.

9. Begin a massive world wide effort to industrialize space.
    a. Cause all heavy industry to be placed off-world.
        1. orbital
        2. moon and moon orbit
        3. Mars and Mars orbit

10. Construct orbital solar arrays to harvest energy from the sun, and beam it
      to earth.

11. Begin a massive effort to colonize the moon and Mars.

12. Begin a massive effort to harvest near Earth asteroids for metals, and
      volatile substances.

I'm pretty sure if humans did all these things, and other things that are not yet apparent we could return Earth to a stable state of being. The problem is, practically no one would be willing to endure a short term loss for a long term gain. The prevailing attitude is that we beat the odds before, we'll just wait and see, then deal with it as it comes. Mitigation is an option that is needed, but relied on to heavily.

These methods may seem extreme. These ideas may seem radical. Well, they are. These ideas would require a whole New World Order, and people don't like the sound of that either. That is why I'm skeptical that any of it will ever happen, or that what our world leaders are doing now will help matters.

The James Parks Show Debut Now

The James Parks Show is on the air!

I've been thinking of doing something like this for a long time. So now I put something together this morning just to see how it goes. If I get a good response I'll continue to put out more videos like this. Expect the format to change often. This is a project in work. This is a learning experience for me. It is fun too!

I'll talk about thing s that interest me. Politics, the environment, religion, social problems and other stuff of a lighter nature too! Sometimes there will be no serous topics at all. So expect a lot of surprises.

This first show touches on immigration, the environment, gridlock and Thanksgiving wishes. I hope you enjoy the show, and if you do please share it around. Also if you have any suggestions please email me at All comments are welcome. If you want to comment on issues and ask me questions, send that along in an email and I'll pick out the best ones and answer it on the show.

Thanks to all my followers who have kept up all these years. Thanks to all the new people who will be jumping on board. I look forward to many more years of service to you, my friends.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Benghazi Scandal & Unreasonable Fools

 Here's something that strikes me about all this. All the Benghazi Scandal promoters are the same people who push ideas like:

1. Obama being a Muslim Radical trying to overthrow the government.
2. Obama doesn't have the rights to be president because he wasn't born here.
3. He wants to take away all your guns.
4. That he wants to have a flood of undocumented aliens cross our border to take away our jobs.
5. That he is trying to ruin the economy, and raise the debt.
6. That human made global climate change is a hoax
7. This list is getting long, so I'll just add a graphic down below.

So given that after all the moneys spent on investigations, pushed by conspiracy theory peddling ,Tea Party/GOP big money thralls, and finding them baseless, can you supporters of such things please reconsider your position?

Look, it is way better for you if you are mistaken about the whole thing, find out the error, and then change course, than it is to keep pushing something that is completely wrong. People will applaud your efforts to obtain truth, but call them a fool who renounce it. Here is an example of this from my life working on aircraft.

I was doing a repair to the emergency exit door frame on a McDonnell Douglas DC-9. In doing the repair I had to use what they call blind fasteners because there was not good enough access to the inside of the structure. Blind fasteners called Cherrymax were called for in the Structural Repair Manual (SRM). This type of fastener is designed to be inserted into the hole, then set by using a puller to pull a pin through it that swells the blind side. I had installed the fasteners, and after rechecking my work, I submitted the finished task to quality assurance.

A little while later the inspector who had inspected it walked up to me and handed me back the paperwork, and informed me there was a problem with the work. He said a few of the fasteners blind ends were not in accordance with (IAW) the SRM. I told him I would look it over, but also informed him that there are no inspection criteria called out in the SRM for the blind side of a Cherrymax. I didn't lecture him, but how could there be a criteria when that fastener is designed for the purpose of a hole that you can't even see the other side of it.

He got angry right off the bat because I questioned his judgement. He told me "You better get the copy of the spec for Cherrymax fasteners, and if your wrong, I'll have you replace all of them." So I obliged him by getting the spec for that type of fastener, and it confirmed what I had told him about inspecting the blind end of a Cherrymax. When I handed him the spec, he literally shoved the paperwork into my chest and said he was rejecting the whole task.

When that happened, I got angry. I had a near zero defect record, and this ass wanted to put a rejection on my record because he couldn't accept that he was in error. I took it over his head. He got reprimanded and had to take remedial courses. His reputation as a good inspector, and as a reasonable human being was ruined.

The moral of the story is, don't back a bad position when you know you're in error. Graciously thank them for informing you of the error, and be glad for it. People will think you a wise and reasonable person, instead of an unreasonable fool.

Friday, November 21, 2014

The President’s Immigration Accountability Executive Actions

Office of the Press Secretary

November 20, 2014

The President’s Immigration Accountability Executive Actions will help secure the border, hold nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants accountable, and ensure that everyone plays by the same rules.  Acting within his legal authority, the President is taking an important step to fix our broken immigration system.
These executive actions crack down on illegal immigration at the border, prioritize deporting felons not families, and require certain undocumented immigrants to pass a criminal background check and pay their fair share of taxes as they register to temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation.
These are common sense steps, but only Congress can finish the job. As the President acts, he’ll continue to work with Congress on a comprehensive, bipartisan bill—like the one passed by the Senate more than a year ago—that can replace these actions and fix the whole system.
Three critical elements of the President’s executive actions are:
  • Cracking Down on Illegal Immigration at the Border:  The President’s actions increase the chances that anyone attempting to cross the border illegally will be caught and sent back. Continuing the surge of resources that effectively reduced the number of unaccompanied children crossing the border illegally this summer, the President’s actions will also centralize border security command-and-control to continue to crack down on illegal immigration.
  • Deporting Felons, Not Families: The President’s actions focus on the deportation of people who threaten national security and public safety. He has directed immigration enforcement to place anyone suspected of terrorism, violent criminals, gang members, and recent border crossers at the top of the deportation priority list.
  • Accountability – Criminal Background Checks and Taxes: The President is also acting to hold accountable those undocumented immigrants who have lived in the US for more than five years and are parents of U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents.  By registering and passing criminal and national security background checks, millions of undocumented immigrants will start paying their fair share of taxes and temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation for three years at a time.
The President’s actions will also streamline legal immigration to boost our economy and will promote naturalization for those who qualify.
For more than a half century, every president—Democratic or Republican—has used his legal authority to act on immigration.  President Obama is now taking another commonsense step. As the Administration implements these executive actions, Congress should finish the job by passing a bill like the bipartisan Senate bill that: continues to strengthen border security by adding 20,000 more Border Patrol agents; cracks down on companies who hire undocumented workers; creates an earned path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who pay a fine and taxes, pass a background check, learn English and go to  the back of the line; and boosts our economy and keeps families together by cutting red tape to simplify our legal immigration process.
Under the Obama Administration, the resources that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) dedicates to security at the Southwest border are at an all-time high.  Today, there are 3,000 additional Border Patrol agents along the Southwest Border and our border fencing, unmanned aircraft surveillance systems, and ground surveillance systems have more than doubled since 2008. Taken as a whole, the additional boots on the ground, technology, and resources provided in the last six years represent the most serious and sustained effort to secure our border in our Nation’s history, cutting illegal border crossings  by more than half.
And this effort is producing results. From 1990 to 2007, the population of undocumented individuals in the United States grew from 3.5 million to 11 million people.  Since then, the size of the undocumented population has stopped growing for the first time in decades. Border apprehensions—a key indicator of border security— are at their lowest level since the 1970s.  This past summer, the President and the entire Administration responded to the influx of unaccompanied children with an aggressive, coordinated Federal response focused on heightened deterrence, enhanced enforcement, stronger foreign cooperation, and greater capacity for Federal agencies to ensure that our border remains secure.  As a result, the number of unaccompanied children attempting to cross the Southwest border has declined precipitously, and the Administration continues to focus its resources to prevent a similar situation from developing in the future.
To build on these efforts and to ensure that our limited enforcement resources are used effectively, the President has announced the following actions: 
  • Shifting resources to the border and recent border crossers. Over the summer, DHS sent hundreds of Border Patrol agents and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel to the Southwest border, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) reordered dockets in immigration courts to prioritize removal cases of recent border crossers.  This continued focus will help keep our borders safe and secure. In addition, Secretary Johnson is announcing a new Southern Border and Approaches Campaign Plan which will strengthen the efforts of the agencies who work to keep our border secure.  And by establishing clearer priorities for interior enforcement, DHS is increasing the likelihood that people attempting to cross the border illegally will be apprehended and sent back.
  • Streamlining the immigration court process. DOJ is announcing a package of immigration court reforms that will address the backlog of pending cases by working with DHS to more quickly adjudicate cases of individuals who meet new DHS-wide enforcement priorities and close cases of individuals who are low priorities. DOJ will also pursue regulations that adopt best practices for court systems to use limited court hearing time as efficiently as possible.
  • Protecting victims of crime and human trafficking as well as workers. The Department of Labor (DOL) is expanding and strengthening immigration options for victims of crimes (U visas) and trafficking (T visas) who cooperate in government investigations.  An interagency working group will also explore ways to ensure that workers can avail themselves of their labor and employment rights without fear of retaliation.
By setting priorities and focusing its enforcement resources, the Obama Administration has already increased the removal of criminals by more than 80%.  These actions build on that strong record by:
  • Focusing on the removal of national security, border security, and public safety threats.  To better focus on the priorities that matter, Secretary Johnson is issuing a new DHS-wide memorandum that makes clear that the government’s enforcement activity should be focused on national security threats, serious criminals, and recent border crossers.  DHS will direct all of its enforcement resources at pursuing these highest priorities for removal.
  • Implementing a new Priority Enforcement Program. Effectively identifying and removing criminals in state and local jails is a critical goal but it must be done in a way that sustains the community’s trust. To address concerns from Governors, Mayors, law enforcement and community leaders which have undermined cooperation with DHS, Secretary Johnson is replacing the existing Secure Communities program with a new Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) to remove those convicted of criminal offenses.  DHS will continue to rely on biometric data to verify individuals who are enforcement priorities, and they will also work with DOJ’s Bureau of Prisons to identify and remove federal criminals serving time as soon as possible.
Every Democratic and Republican president since Dwight Eisenhower has taken executive action on immigration.  Consistent with this long history, DHS will expand the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to include more immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.  DHS will also create a new deferred action program for people who are parents of U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) and have lived in the United States for five years or longer if they register, pass a background check and pay taxes.
The President is taking the following actions to hold accountable certain undocumented immigrants:
  • Creating a mechanism that requires certain undocumented immigrants to pass a background check to make sure that they start paying their fair share in taxes. In order to promote public safety, DHS is establishing a new deferred action program for parents of U.S. Citizens or LPRs who are not enforcement priorities and have been in the country for more than 5 years.  Individuals will have the opportunity to request temporary relief from deportation and work authorization for three years at a time if they come forward and register, submit biometric data, pass background checks, pay fees, and show that their child was born before the date of this announcement. By providing individuals with an opportunity to come out of the shadows and work legally, we will also help crack down on companies who hired undocumented workers, which undermines the wages of all workers, and ensure that individuals are playing by the rules and paying their fair share of taxes.
  • Expanding DACA to cover additional DREAMers. Under the initial DACA program, young people who had been in the U.S. for at least five years, came as children, and met specific education and public safety criteria were eligible for temporary relief from deportation so long as they were born after 1981 and entered the country before June 15, 2007.  DHS is expanding DACA so that individuals who were brought to this country as children can apply if they entered before January 1, 2010, regardless of how old they are today.  Going forward, DACA relief will also be granted for three years.
The President’s actions will also streamline legal immigration to boost our economy and promote naturalization by:
  • Providing portable work authorization for high-skilled workers awaiting LPR status and their spouses.  Under the current system, employees with approved LPR applications often wait many years for their visa to become available.  DHS will make regulatory changes to allow these workers to move or change jobs more easily.  DHS is finalizing new rules to give certain H-1B spouses employment authorization as long as the H-1B spouse has an approved LPR application.
  • Enhancing options for foreign entrepreneurs.  DHS will expand immigration options for foreign entrepreneurs who meet certain criteria for creating jobs, attracting investment, and generating revenue in the U.S., to ensure that our system encourages them to grow our economy.  The criteria will include income thresholds so that these individuals are not eligible for certain public benefits like welfare or tax credits under the Affordable Care Act.
  • Strengthening and extending on-the-job training for STEM graduates of U.S universities. In order to strengthen educational experiences of foreign students studying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at U.S. universities, DHS will propose changes to expand and extend the use of the existing Optional Practical Training (OPT) program and require stronger ties between OPT students and their colleges and universities following graduation.
  • Streamlining the process for foreign workers and their employers, while protecting American workers. DHS will clarify its guidance on temporary L-1 visas for foreign workers who transfer from a company’s foreign office to its U.S. office. DOL will take regulatory action to modernize the labor market test that is required of employers that sponsor foreign workers for immigrant visas while ensuring that American workers are protected.
  • Reducing family separation for those waiting to obtain LPR status. Due to barriers in our system, U.S. citizens and LPRs are often separated for years from their immediate relatives, while they wait to obtain their LPR status. To reduce the time these individuals are separated, DHS will expand an existing program that allows certain individuals to apply for a provisional waiver for certain violations before departing the United States to attend visa interviews.
  • Ensuring that individuals with lawful status can travel to their countries of origin. DHS will clarify its guidance to provide greater assurance to individuals with a pending LPR application or certain temporary status permission to travel abroad with advance permission (“parole”).
  • Issuing a Presidential Memorandum on visa modernization. There are many ways in which our legal immigration system can be modernized to reduce government costs, eliminate redundant systems, reduce burdens on employers and families, and eliminate fraud. The President is issuing a Memorandum directing an interagency group to recommend areas for improvement.
  • Creating a White House Task Force on New Americans. The President is creating a White House Task Force on New Americans to create a federal strategy on immigrant integration.
  • Promoting Citizenship Public Awareness: DHS will launch a comprehensive citizenship awareness media campaign in the 10 states that are home to 75 percent of the overall LPR population. USCIS will also expand options for paying naturalization fees and explore additional measures to expand accessibility, including studying potential partial fee waiver for qualified individuals.
  • Ensuring U.S. Citizens Can Serve: To further our military’s needs and support recruitment efforts, DHS will expand an existing policy to provide relief to spouses and children of U.S. citizens seeking to enlist in the military, consistent with a request made by the Department of Defense.

The Start of Gold Fever

Have you ever been to Dahlonega, Georgia? My brother Bryan and I visited there in 1987. It started a bout of gold fever. That area was one of the first places in the United States to have commercial gold mining operations. Dahlonega, Georgia is located on top of the largest gold deposits found east of the Mississippi River in the USA. Gold was first discovered, completely by accident, in the Dahlonega area in 1828, twenty years before the Gold Rush to California. Deer hunter, Benjamin Parks, tripped over a rock 2 ½ miles south of what is now Dahlonega, upon inspecting the rock, he discovered that it was full of gold! Perhaps you can see one of the reasons for my brother and my fascination. Of course our sir name is Parks too.

Dahlonega Gold Museum Historic Site

The first time we went there we had a ball. We explored the museum downtown first. It was on the square and housed some really cool displays of real big gold nuggets. One was at least as big as my head. There were all kinds of antique mining equipment and placards with all kinds of information.

After we had enough of the museum, we headed over to a tourist working mine. There one could purchase buckets of ore, and pan out the gold with a gold pan, in troughs they had set up. It was really exciting finding that first bit of color. There was some specks, Then a flake, and now another. Bryan yelled "Ye-haw" when he found a pea sized first nugget. Turning towards me with it between his fingers, and the hugest smile between his ears. It is such a nice image of him for me. So happy.

Crisson Gold Mine

We ended up buying 10 buckets of dirt from to take back home with us. That week we started in on building a sluice. We went to the library for books on it because the internet wasn't there. After we built the sluice, we set a hose in one end and started carefully spooning in the dirt we had bought. We didn't want to waist any of it. By the time we had went through the 10 bags of gold ore, we has 1/3 of an ounce of gold flakes, dust and a few nice little nuggets. It was awesome.

We drove down to Green Cove Springs to visit our dad soon thereafter. When we showed him the gold, he got excited and said come on out to the garage. When we got out there, he whipped out a cast iron skillet and an acetylene torch. We dumped the gold into the skillet and applied some heat. It wasn't long before we had a nice little button of gold. Dad commandeered the gold, but we didn't mind. He said he wanted to make a pendant out of it.

Later Bryan and I studied all we could find about gold mining and the geology of it. We made a lot of trips to Dahlonega to look for gold. There are streams in the area that really have gold in them. You can go under most bridges around there with your pan and get color. Sometimes people get lucky and find a nice concentration. We met people who had tents set up under bridges. They stayed there every season to pan gold.

I think that's how Bryan and I got bit by the gold bug. Two young men with adventure in their hearts, and gold in their eyes. I can totally understand why people in the Yukon gold rush gave up everything to take a chance. The gold bug got my brother and I to give up what we had, and strike out. We were going to go to Alaska, and go for broke. Like so many before us that's what ended up happening. I think I'll reserve that story for another time.

Anonymous Threatens KKK and Ferguson Police

This could be anything from opportunists wanting to make a buck monetizing the video on Youtube, to trouble making, giggling teenage idiots, all the way to being the real deal. If it is the real deal, I don't like it.

I don't like rogue police departments, the KKK, or people setting up government within government. I will not condone a shadow government. We have the Department of Justice for police gone amok. We have a legal system, and we can not have third parties setting up an alternate one dishing out their own brand of justice.

Anonymous Threatens KKK and Ferguson Police

John Boehner Speaker of the House Responds to Obama Immigration Move

John Boehner, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives responds to Obama executive action on immigration.

The President Speaks on Fixing America's Broken Immigration System

Text of speech:

My fellow Americans, tonight, I'd like to talk with you about immigration.

For more than 200 years, our tradition of welcoming immigrants from around the world has given us a tremendous advantage over other nations. It's kept us youthful, dynamic, and entrepreneurial. It has shaped our character as a people with limitless possibilities - people not trapped by our past, but able to remake ourselves as we choose.

But today, our immigration system is broken, and everybody knows it.

Families who enter our country the right way and play by the rules watch others flout the rules. Business owners who offer their workers good wages and benefits see the competition exploit undocumented immigrants by paying them far less. All of us take offense to anyone who reaps the rewards of living in America without taking on the responsibilities of living in America. And undocumented immigrants who desperately want to embrace those responsibilities see little option but to remain in the shadows, or risk their families being torn apart.

It's been this way for decades. And for decades, we haven't done much about it.

When I took office, I committed to fixing this broken immigration system. And I began by doing what I could to secure our borders. Today, we have more agents and technology deployed to secure our southern border than at any time in our history. And over the past six years, illegal border crossings have been cut by more than half. Although this summer, there was a brief spike in unaccompanied children being apprehended at our border, the number of such children is now actually lower than it's been in nearly two years. Overall, the number of people trying to cross our border illegally is at its lowest level since the 1970s. Those are the facts.

Meanwhile, I worked with Congress on a comprehensive fix, and last year, 68 Democrats, Republicans and independents came together to pass a bipartisan bill in the Senate. It wasn't perfect. It was a compromise, but it reflected common sense. It would have doubled the number of border patrol agents, while giving undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship if they paid a fine, started paying their taxes, and went to the back of the line. And independent experts said that it would help grow our economy and shrink our deficits.

Had the House of Representatives allowed that kind of a bill a simple yes-or-no vote, it would have passed with support from both parties, and today it would be the law. But for a year and a half now, Republican leaders in the House have refused to allow that simple vote.

Now, I continue to believe that the best way to solve this problem is by working together to pass that kind of common sense law. But until that happens, there are actions I have the legal authority to take as president - the same kinds of actions taken by Democratic and Republican presidents before me - that will help make our immigration system more fair and more just.

Tonight, I am announcing those actions.

First, we'll build on our progress at the border with additional resources for our law enforcement personnel so that they can stem the flow of illegal crossings, and speed the return of those who do cross over.

Second, I will make it easier and faster for high-skilled immigrants, graduates, and entrepreneurs to stay and contribute to our economy, as so many business leaders have proposed.

Third, we'll take steps to deal responsibly with the millions of undocumented immigrants who already live in our country.

I want to say more about this third issue, because it generates the most passion and controversy. Even as we are a nation of immigrants, we are also a nation of laws. Undocumented workers broke our immigration laws, and I believe that they must be held accountable - especially those who may be dangerous. That's why, over the past six years, deportations of criminals are up 80 percent. And that's why we're going to keep focusing enforcement resources on actual threats to our security. Felons, not families. Criminals, not children. Gang members, not a mother who's working hard to provide for her kids. We'll prioritize, just like law enforcement does every day.

But even as we focus on deporting criminals, the fact is, millions of immigrants - in every state, of every race and nationality - will still live here illegally. And let's be honest - tracking down, rounding up, and deporting millions of people isn't realistic. Anyone who suggests otherwise isn't being straight with you. It's also not who we are as Americans. After all, most of these immigrants have been here a long time. They work hard, often in tough, low-paying jobs. They support their families. They worship at our churches. Many of their kids are American-born or spent most of their lives here, and their hopes, dreams, and patriotism are just like ours.

As my predecessor, President Bush, once put it: "They are a part of American life."

Now here's the thing: we expect people who live in this country to play by the rules. We expect that those who cut the line will not be unfairly rewarded. So we're going to offer the following deal: If you've been in America for more than five years; if you have children who are American citizens or legal residents; if you register, pass a criminal background check, and you're willing to pay your fair share of taxes - you'll be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily, without fear of deportation. You can come out of the shadows and get right with the law.

That's what this deal is. Now let's be clear about what it isn't. This deal does not apply to anyone who has come to this country recently. It does not apply to anyone who might come to America illegally in the future. It does not grant citizenship, or the right to stay here permanently, or offer the same benefits that citizens receive - only Congress can do that. All we're saying is we're not going to deport you.

I know some of the critics of this action call it amnesty. Well, it's not. Amnesty is the immigration system we have today - millions of people who live here without paying their taxes or playing by the rules, while politicians use the issue to scare people and whip up votes at election time.

That's the real amnesty - leaving this broken system the way it is. Mass amnesty would be unfair. Mass deportation would be both impossible and contrary to our character. What I'm describing is accountability - a commonsense, middle ground approach: If you meet the criteria, you can come out of the shadows and get right with the law. If you're a criminal, you'll be deported. If you plan to enter the U.S. illegally, your chances of getting caught and sent back just went up.

The actions I'm taking are not only lawful, they're the kinds of actions taken by every single Republican president and every single Democratic president for the past half century. And to those members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better, or question the wisdom of me acting where Congress has failed, I have one answer: Pass a bill. I want to work with both parties to pass a more permanent legislative solution. And the day I sign that bill into law, the actions I take will no longer be necessary. Meanwhile, don't let a disagreement over a single issue be a deal-breaker on every issue. That's not how our democracy works, and Congress certainly shouldn't shut down our government again just because we disagree on this. Americans are tired of gridlock. What our country needs from us right now is a common purpose - a higher purpose.

Most Americans support the types of reforms I've talked about tonight. But I understand the disagreements held by many of you at home. Millions of us, myself included, go back generations in this country, with ancestors who put in the painstaking work to become citizens. So we don't like the notion that anyone might get a free pass to American citizenship. I know that some worry immigration will change the very fabric of who we are, or take our jobs, or stick it to middle-class families at a time when they already feel like they've gotten the raw end of the deal for over a decade. I hear these concerns. But that's not what these steps would do. Our history and the facts show that immigrants are a net plus for our economy and our society. And I believe it's important that all of us have this debate without impugning each other's character.

Because for all the back-and-forth of Washington, we have to remember that this debate is about something bigger. It's about who we are as a country, and who we want to be for future generations.

Are we a nation that tolerates the hypocrisy of a system where workers who pick our fruit and make our beds never have a chance to get right with the law? Or are we a nation that gives them a chance to make amends, take responsibility, and give their kids a better future?

Are we a nation that accepts the cruelty of ripping children from their parents' arms? Or are we a nation that values families, and works to keep them together?

Are we a nation that educates the world's best and brightest in our universities, only to send them home to create businesses in countries that compete against us? Or are we a nation that encourages them to stay and create jobs, businesses, and industries right here in America?

That's what this debate is all about. We need more than politics as usual when it comes to immigration; we need reasoned, thoughtful, compassionate debate that focuses on our hopes, not our fears.

I know the politics of this issue are tough. But let me tell you why I have come to feel so strongly about it. Over the past few years, I have seen the determination of immigrant fathers who worked two or three jobs, without taking a dime from the government, and at risk at any moment of losing it all, just to build a better life for their kids. I've seen the heartbreak and anxiety of children whose mothers might be taken away from them just because they didn't have the right papers. I've seen the courage of students who, except for the circumstances of their birth, are as American as Malia or Sasha; students who bravely come out as undocumented in hopes they could make a difference in a country they love. These people - our neighbors, our classmates, our friends - they did not come here in search of a free ride or an easy life. They came to work, and study, and serve in our military, and above all, contribute to America's success.

Tomorrow, I'll travel to Las Vegas and meet with some of these students, including a young woman named Astrid Silva. Astrid was brought to America when she was 4 years old. Her only possessions were a cross, her doll and the frilly dress she had on. When she started school, she didn't speak any English. She caught up to the other kids by reading newspapers and watching PBS, and became a good student. Her father worked in landscaping. Her mother cleaned other people's homes. They wouldn't let Astrid apply to a technology magnet school for fear the paperwork would out her as an undocumented immigrant - so she applied behind their back and got in. Still, she mostly lived in the shadows - until her grandmother, who visited every year from Mexico, passed away, and she couldn't travel to the funeral without risk of being found out and deported. It was around that time she decided to begin advocating for herself and others like her, and today, Astrid Silva is a college student working on her third degree.

Are we a nation that kicks out a striving, hopeful immigrant like Astrid - or are we a nation that finds a way to welcome her in?

Scripture tells us that we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger - we were strangers once, too.

My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too. And whether our forebears were strangers who crossed the Atlantic, or the Pacific, or the Rio Grande, we are here only because this country welcomed them in, and taught them that to be an American is about something more than what we look like, or what our last names are, or how we worship. What makes us Americans is our shared commitment to an ideal - that all of us are created equal, and all of us have the chance to make of our lives what we will.

That's the country our parents and grandparents and generations before them built for us. That's the tradition we must uphold. That's the legacy we must leave for those who are yet to come.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless this country we love.