Obama: ‘It Doesn’t Make Sense to Have 11 Million People Who Are in This Country Illegally...’

By Terence P. Jeffrey | October 25, 2013 | 1:28 PM EDT

With Vice President Joe Biden at his side, President Barack Obama gave a speech at the White House on Oct. 24, 2013, calling on Congress to enact legislation that will allow people "illegally" in the U.S. to become what he called "legalized citizens." (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(CNSNews.com) - President Barack Obama--who oversees both the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security--said in a speech at the White House on Thursday that it does not make sense to have 11 million people in the United States “illegally.”

The president said that the people "illegally" in the United States need to be given an “incentive” to stay here and become what he called “legalized citizens.”

“It doesn’t make sense to have 11 million people who are in this country illegally without any incentive or any way for them to come out of the shadows, get right with the law, meet their responsibilities and permit their families then to move ahead,” he said. “It’s not smart. It’s not fair. It doesn’t make sense.”

Obama reiterated his request that the Republican-controlled Congress pass the immigration reform bill that has already been approved by the Senate.

“It would make sure that everybody plays by the same rules by providing a pathway to earned citizenship for those who are here illegally,” said Obama.

“So this isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do,” said Obama. “Securing our borders; modernizing our legal immigration system; providing a pathway to earned, legalized citizenship; growing our economy; strengthening our middle class; reducing our deficits--that’s what common-sense immigration reform will do.”

Article 2, Section 3 of the Constitution mandates that the president “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”

A page on the White House website that explains the administration's understanding of the power of the Executive Branch says: "The President is responsible for implementing and enforcing the laws written by Congress."

In his White House speech on Thursday, the president did not say how he knew that "in the shadows" there were “11 million people who are in this country illegally.”

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