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Quoting Obama, Neal Says Immigrants Should “Get In Line And Learn English”

This is a photo of Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal
JD Allen

Congressman Richard Neal discussed his views on immigration at an economic summit in Pittsfield, Massachusetts Wednesday.

Answering an audience question, the Democrat from the 1st House district said “nothing has roiled the Western democracies right now like the issues of immigration,” and said it was to blame for Brexit. He also attributed the rise of Eastern European nationalism to the issue.

Saying America needs immigrants, Neal said dialogue around the issue has become unnecessarily politicized by use of words like “invasion.” Neal added he does not support open borders.

“I also want to say this – and don’t think of this as a partisan statement – when Barack Obama used to say ‘get in line, and learn English,’ that’s Obama’s quote, that’s not mine – I think he was right about that. And I think register, get in line, and learn English – that’s where we want to be.”

Obama’s remarks to that effect were in reference to migrants who had entered the country illegally.

Josh Landes has been WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief since February 2018, following stints at WBGO Newark and WFMU East Orange. A passionate advocate for Western Massachusetts, Landes was raised in Pittsfield and attended Hampshire College in Amherst, receiving his bachelor's in Ethnomusicology and Radio Production. His free time is spent with his cat Harry, experimental electronic music, and exploring the woods.
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