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In Inaugural Address, Obama Singles Out Immigrant Students

After taking the oath of office for his second term, President Obama delivered a speech touching on many themes and issues.

One passage of interest to higher education concerned the importance of welcoming foreign-born students, both visitors and immigrants, to American colleges, and making it possible for them to remain in the United States, even if they entered the country illegally: “Our journey is not complete,” he said, “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 work force rather than expelled from our country.”

He did not spell out a proposal, but his assertion followed his longstanding support for passage of the Dream Act and reflected his decision last year that deferred action on deporting such students.

Mr. Obama also cited the importance of “networks and research labs” as well as mathematics and science teachers to the nation’s future. And he noted “the overwhelming judgment of science” in calling for action to deal with climate change.

Correction (1/22/2013, 6:04 p.m.): This post originally misstated the nature of President Obama’s decision last year to defer efforts to deport students who are in the United States illegally. The action was technically a directive from the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, not an executive order by the president. The post has been updated to reflect this correction.

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