Best Speeches of
Barack Obama
through his 2009 Inauguration

Most Recent Speeches are Listed First

• Barack Obama -
Election Night Victory / Presidential Acceptance Speech - Nov 4 2008

Barack Obama - Night Before the Election - the Last Rally - Manassas Virginia - Nov 3 2008

• Barack Obama - Democratic Nominee Acceptance Speech
2008 National Democratic Convention

Barack Obama - "A World that Stands as One" - Berlin Germany - July 2008

• Barack Obama - Final Primary Night:
Presumptive Nominee Speech

• Barack Obama - North Carolina Primary Night

• Barack Obama - Pennsylvania Primary Night

• Barack Obama - AP Annual Luncheon

• Barack Obama - A More Perfect Union
“The Race Speech”

• Barack Obama - Texas and Ohio Primary Night

• Barack Obama - Potomac Primary Night

• Barack Obama - Super Tuesday

Barack Obama - Iowa Caucus Night

Barack Obama - California Democratic Convention - April 28, 2007

Barack Obama - Announcement For President - Feb 10 2007

Barack Obama - Floor Statement on Iraq War De-escalation Act of 2007

Barack Obama - The Time Has Come for Universal Health Care

Barack Obama - Floor Statement on President's Decision to Increase Troops in Iraq

Barack Obama - Race Against Time - World AIDS Day Speech

Barack Obama - A Way Forward in Iraq

Barack Obama - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Groundbreaking Ceremony

Barack Obama - Military Commission Legislation

Barack Obama - Floor Statement on the Habeas Corpus Amendment

Barack Obama - Energy Independence: A Call for Leadership

Barack Obama - An Honest Government, A Hopeful Future

Barack Obama - Xavier University Commencement Address

Barack Obama - AFSCME National Convention

Barack Obama - Vote against the Gulf of Mexico Energy Bill

Barack Obama - Support of H.R. 9, the Voting Rights Act

Barack Obama - Statement of Support for Stem Cell Research

Barack Obama - Campus Progress Annual Conference

Barack Obama - “Call to Renewal” Keynote Address

Barack Obama - Iraq Debate

Barack Obama - Northwestern University Commencement Address

Barack Obama - Katrina Reconstruction

Barack Obama - Take Back America

Barack Obama - Network Neutrality

Barack Obama - Federal Marriage Amendment

Barack Obama - University of Massachusetts at Boston Commencement Address

Barack Obama - General Michael Hayden Nomination

Barack Obama - Opposition to the Amendment Requiring a Photo ID to Vote

Barack Obama - Employment Verification Amendment for the Immigration Bill

Barack Obama - Southern Illinois University School of Medicine Commencement Address

Barack Obama - Honoring Our Commitment to Veterans

Barack Obama - EMILY's List Annual Luncheon

Barack Obama - A Real Solution for High Gas Prices

Barack Obama - Immigration Rallies

Barack Obama - Amendment to Stop No-Bid Contracts for Gulf Coast Recovery and Reconstruction

Barack Obama - Updates on Darfur, Immigration, Gas Prices

Barack Obama - Immigration Reform

Barack Obama - Energy Independence and the Safety of Our Planet

Barack Obama - Immigration Reform

Barack Obama - Improving Chemical Plant Security

Barack Obama - 21st Century Schools for a 21st Century Economy

Barack Obama - Meals Amendment

Barack Obama - Debate on Lobbying and Ethics Reform

Barack Obama - Energy Security is National Security - Governor's Ethanol Coalition

Barack Obama - Floor Statement S.2271 - PATRIOT Act Reauthorization

Barack Obama - Darfur: Current Policy Not Enough

Barack Obama - Foreign Relations Committee regarding Lugar-Obama legislation S.1949

Barack Obama - Hurricane Katrina Child Assistance Amendment

Barack Obama - Supreme Court Nomination of Samuel Alito - Podcast

Barack Obama - Confirmation of Judge Samuel Alito, Jr. - Speech

Barack Obama - Lobbying Reform Summit National Press Club

Barack Obama - Meeting on Iraq with President Bush

Barack Obama - Remarks: Honest Leadership and Open Government

Barack Obama - From the Road: Israel and the Palestinian territories

Barack Obama - From the Road: Speaking with American Troops in Iraq

Barack Obama - The PATRIOT Act

Barack Obama - Moving Forward in Iraq - Chicago Council on Foreign Relations

Barack Obama - Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award Ceremony

Barack Obama - National Women's Law Center

Barack Obama - "Sex on TV 4" Report

Barack Obama - Non-Proliferation and Russia: The Challenges Ahead

Barack Obama - Chicago White Sox

Barack Obama - Death of Rosa Parks

Barack Obama - Teaching Our Kids in a 21st Century Economy

Barack Obama - Avian Flu

Barack Obama - Confirmation of Judge John Roberts

Barack Obama - Resources for the Future

Barack Obama - Statement on Hurricane Katrina Relief Efforts

Barack Obama - AFL-CIO National Convention

Barack Obama - Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill and the Avian Flu

Barack Obama - American Legion Conference

Barack Obama - Literacy and Education in a 21st-Century Economy

Barack Obama - Pritzker School of Medicine Commencement

Barack Obama - Nomination of Justice Janice Rogers Brown

Barack Obama - Knox College Commencement

Barack Obama - Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery

Barack Obama - America’s Nuclear Non-Proliferation Policy Remarks

Barack Obama - Rockford Register Star Young American Awards

Barack Obama - NAACP Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner

Barack Obama - National Press Club

Barack Obama - SIUC College of Agriculture's 50th Anniversary

Barack Obama - Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

Barack Obama - Amendment for Meals/Phone Service to Wounded Veterans

Barack Obama - The Nuclear Option

Barack Obama - Confirmation Hearing of John Bolton

Barack Obama - Herblock Foundation Annual Lecture

Barack Obama - American Legion Legislative Rally

Barack Obama - CURE Keynote Address

Barack Obama - Remarks of TechNet

Barack Obama - S256, the Bankruptcy Abuse & Prevention Act of 2005

Barack Obama - John Lewis's 65th Birthday Gala

Barack Obama - Keynote Address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention

Barack Obama - 2002 Speech Against the Iraq War

  Immigration Rallies and Status of Reform - Podcast Transcript

TOPIC: Immigration
May 4, 2006
Immigration Rallies
Complete Transcript

Hello, this is Senator Barack Obama and today is Thursday, May 4th, 2006.

On Monday, I traveled from D.C. to Chicago to witness a monumental event. There were 400,000 people marching on behalf of comprehensive immigration reform in this country. There were rallies all across the country but Chicago was one of the largest. I had the opportunity to speak to the people who were gathering at Union Park before they marched over to Grant Park. Four-hundred thousand people, mostly of Mexican origin, but large numbers of people from other countries - Nigerians and Pakistanis and Indians and Filipinos - people who've come to this country for the same reason that immigrants have been drawn to this country for generations: the notion that they can pursue and better life for themselves but, most importantly, for their children, if they work hard and apply themselves.

I think most of you are familiar with the issues that have surrounded immigration. They've gotten a lot of attention recently. We have a system of legal immigration in which people are drawn through the normal processes and they apply for legal residency and ultimately get naturalized as citizens if they so choose. The controversy right now surrounds undocumented workers - people who came here illegally, most of them crossing the border between Mexico and the United States. It's estimated at this point that we probably have 11 to 12 million undocumented workers around the country. Most of them are employed in low-wage backbreaking work in agricultural sectors, in packing plants, in restaurants, in construction. Obviously, the country feels ambivalent about this influx.

On the one hand, I think many of us (including myself) believe that these people are doing what any of us would do if we had an opportunity for a better life for our kids. They take the risk of coming here; many of them are extraordinarily impoverished and would not likely be able to get to the United States through the limited number of visas that are currently issued.

On the other hand, we are a nation of laws and these people did come here outside of the law. Economists debate what kind of effect undocumented workers have in this country. There's no doubt that in many areas, like the agricultural sector, these immigrants are doing work that Americans would not do, at least at the wages that are paid. There are other circumstances in which it is clear that employers are importing these workers simply because they don't want to pay the living wages that Americans demand. There is no doubt that if construction companies were willing to pay more that they would see more U.S. workers applying for those jobs. It does appear that undocumented workers have a somewhat adverse effect in depressing the wages of low-skill workers, which is why in the African-American community, for example, there is some nervousness of about the number of undocumented workers that are coming into this country and whether they are systematically replacing or pushing out low-skill, low-wage black workers.

Having said all that, I think we need to recognize that if we are going to uphold the traditions of this country as a nation of immigrants, than we are going to have to deal with this issue in a way that reflects common sense and compassion.

The House of Representatives passed a bill that was extraordinarily punitive. It talked about border security and it made any undocumented worker in this country a felon; it also made people who potentially helped undocumented workers, for example, providing housing assistance or providing a domestic violence shelter potentially subject to a felony conviction.

It's that draconian measure that passed in the House that prompted these marches, but what started as a march of fear on the part of many undocumented workers, I think, has become a march for hope. People are hoping that they have an opportunity to legalize themselves in some fashion.

In the United States Senate there has been a bipartisan group, including myself, Ted Kennedy, John McCain, Chuck Hagel, Mel Martinez, Ken Salazar, Lindsey Graham and a number of others who've been trying to negotiate a comprehensive package that would include stronger border security, making sure that employers actually verify employment status through a tamper-proof employee-verification card, and creation of a pathway to citizenship - earned citizenship - for the 11 to 12 million people that are already here. The idea would be that those people, over the course of eleven years could earn their way to citizenship by paying a fine, paying their back taxes (if they owe any), staying out of trouble, learning English and so on. The opponents of this kind of proposal call this amnesty and they hearken back to what happened in 1986 when, in fact, undocumented workers were provided amnesty. There was supposed to be a grand bargain where in exchange for such amnesty there was going to be serious border security and employer sanctions on those who had hired undocumented workers. That never really happened. And so people who are opposed to the Senate bill believe that the best strategy is not to provide amnesty to these undocumented workers but simply shut off the possibility that they can be hired, perhaps deport them where they can be rounded up and build either a virtual wall or a literal wall along the Mexican and United States borders. That kind of approach just isn't realistic. We're not going to deport 11 to 12 million people; many of them have been here for many years, many of them have strong roots, many of them have children who were born here and are therefore United States citizens. It's hard to imagine that we want to live in a country where we would have police and immigration officials coming into people's homes and taking away the father of a family, sending him back to Mexico, leaving a mother and child behind.

This is going to be an emotional issue. It's not going to go away any time soon. I think what we saw in those marches is the face of a new America. America is changing and we can't be threatened by it. We have to understand that we are going to be better off united than divided.

When I spoke to folks at this rally I insisted that for those undocumented workers who hope some way to have a pathway to citizenship, they have to understand that citizenship involves a common language, a common faith in the country, common commitments and a common sense of purpose, fealty to a common flag. I think there are times in these marches were you have seen Mexican flags; there has been controversy around a Spanish national anthem. I think that is not helpful because it indicates that somehow the traditional pattern of immigrants assimilating to a broader American culture is not what these marchers are seeking. I think they have to seek that because that is the essence of this country - that in diversity we come together as one.

On the other hand, to those who are fearful of these immigrants, in some cases because they have come to represent a loss of control for the country and its borders, I would just say to them that we can't have a country in which you have a servant class that is picking our lettuce or plucking our chickens or looking after our children or mowing our lawns but who never have the full rights and obligations of citizenship. That's just not the kind of country that I want to have my children grow up in and my hope is that over the coming months we can come up with the kind of comprehensive, thoughtful legislation that I think the Senate bill reflects and we can have strong border security, we can have employers do the right thing by hiring those who are here legally in some fashion, but that we also provide all those families, children, elderly people and teenagers that I saw in that amazing march on Monday the opportunity to be full members of the American community.

Anyway, I will keep you guys posted on this important issue and I look forward to talking to you next week. Bye-bye.


You can only imagine how many different ways people type the name Barack Obama. Here is a sampling for his first name: Barac, Barach, Baracks, Barak, Baraka, Barrack, Barrak, Berack, Borack, Borak, Brack, Brach, Brock even, Rocco. There are just as many for his last name: Abama, Bama, Bamma, Obma, Obamas, Obamma, Obana, Obamo, Obbama, Oboma, Obomba, Obombma, Obomha, Oblama, Omaba, Oblamma and (ready for this?) Ohama. And of course there's Barack Obama's middle name, Hussein. Here are some of the ways it comes out: Hissein, Hussain, Husein, Hussin, Hussane and Hussien.