Today the President met with Taoiseach Enda Kenny who is the leader of Ireland. During remarks, Kenny scolded the President and taught him a lesson about how important immigrants are to American.
It’s fitting that we gather here each year to celebrate St. Patrick and his legacy. He, too, of course, was an immigrant. And though he is, of course, the patron saint of Ireland, for many people around the globe, he is also a symbol of, indeed, the patron of immigrants.
Here in America, your great country, 35 million people claim Irish heritage, and the Irish have contributed to the economic, social, political and cultural life of this great country over the last 200 years. Ireland came to America because, deprived of liberty, deprived of opportunity, of safety, of even food itself, the Irish believed, four decades before Lady Liberty lifted her lamp, we were the “wretched refuse on the teeming shore.” We believed in the shelter of America, and the compassion of America, and the opportunity of America. We came, and we became Americans.
We lived the words of John F. Kennedy long before we heard them: We asked not what America could do for us, but what we could do for America. And we still do. We want to give, and not to take. We know the Irish have built the bridges and the roads, protected the public as firefighters and police officers. We’ve cared for the sick in hospitals, entertained as poets, as singers and writers, as politicians, as judges and legislators. And as entrepreneurs, they provided hundreds of thousands of jobs for Americans, including most recently, in exciting technology companies.
You watch the remarks below:
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