Obama: Illegal Immigrants and Gays Are Part of Today’s Civil Rights Movement

‘Everybody has to be treated equally under the law’

Appearing today on The Joe Madison Show, President Obama said illegal immigrants and gays are part of America's civil rights tradition.

OBAMA: "When you think about the principle that was upheld that day and in subsequent days at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, it was the promise of an inclusive America, it was the promise of an America where everybody was equal under the law, where everybody has opportunity.

And the fact of the matter is that when it comes to immigration, we are a nation of immigrants. And the notion that saved some young kid who was brought here when they were two or three years old might somehow be deported at the age of twenty or twenty five, even though they grow up as Americans - that's not who we are. That's not true to the spirit of what the march on Selma was about. The idea that we'd discriminate against people with different sexual orientations -you know, the basic concept was that everybody has to be treated equally under the law.

Not that you have to -- that everybody has to have equal lifestyle, not that everybody has to attend the same church, or have the same ideas. But when it came to the ability to get the job, or a house, or go to school, or, in my view, marry and be with somebody that they love, that's a basic principle that we treat people fairly.

And so I think that one of the great reasons we celebrate that day of the civil rights movement, and we celebrate the march at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, is because it didn’t just open up the doors for black folks. It wasn't just about the black folks, it was about America and who we are. And the legacy that then opened the doors for Americans with disabilities, Latinos, Asian Americans, and women.

And that's legacy we have to be proud of, but we have to understand what that spirit was about. It wasn’t just about one race, it was about who all of us are as Americans and what we believe in.”

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