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Obama: It's not racist to be 'disturbed by immigration': 'Everybody has to have some agreed-upon rules'


Could he even win a Democratic primary in 2019 with that stance?

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama gave a different take on the immigration debate than the ones that typically come out of the Democratic Party during a speech in Berlin, according to Newsweek.

What's he doing in Berlin? Obama was speaking during a town hall event for young leaders in Europe over the weekend. European countries are having their own struggles with how to manage immigration.

What did Obama say about immigration? Obama pushed back against a liberal tendency to label anyone concerned about the impact of immigration as a "racist."

"We can't label everyone who is disturbed by migration as racist," Obama said. "If you're going to have a coherent, cohesive society, then everybody has to have some agreed-upon rules. And there are going to have to be some accommodations that everybody makes. And that includes the people who are newcomers. The question is, are those fair?"

And later in his remarks, "Should we want to encourage newcomers to learn the language of the country that they're moving to? Of course. Does that mean that they can never use their own language? No, of course it doesn't mean that, but it's not racist to say, 'Ah, if you're going to be here then you should learn the language of the country that you just arrived at because we need to have some sort of common language in which all of us can work, and learn and understand each other.

"...we can't label everyone who is disturbed by immigration as a racist," he said.

Obama's immigration legacy: The former president's remarks came during a weekend when there was significant upheaval in the Department of Homeland Security, with secretary Kirstjen Nielsen resigning.

Coverage of her resignation paints her as the architect of policies that resulted in detainment of immigrant children, minimizing the reality that illegal immigrant children were detained in significant numbers during the Obama administration, even though Obama's administration did not have a "zero tolerance" policy.

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