Obama heads to Texas-Mexico border to discuss fixing ‘broken immigration system’
*UPDATED at 11:58 p.m., with details on how to watch the speech live.
Acknowledging that America’s current immigration system is “broken,” President Obama is planning to tell Americans how to fix it when he gives a speech Tuesday afternoon near the border of Texas and Mexico.
Following a tour of the cargo facility at the Bridge of the Americas Port of Entry (according to the White House, of the half-billion inspections conducted every year at 327 ports of entry nationwide, approximately 10 percent enter through the El Paso Port of Entry), at 3:30 p.m. EDT, the president will speak at the Chamizal National Memorial in El Paso, Texas, to lay out a plan for immigration reform and improving national economic and national security, so that “America can win the future,” according to a White House press release.
The speech will be live-streamed at WhiteHouse.gov/live, starting at 3:30 p.m. EDT.
Among his planned points, the president will address ”how Americans can work together to foster a constructive national conversation on this important issue as we work to build a bipartisan consensus in Congress.”
In recent meeting,s Obama has asked Democrats and Republicans to elevate the immigration debate publicly and has organized 30 community conversations around the country, according to the White House, including a conference call among business, labor, law enforcement and faith leaders on Wednesday; a roundtable community conservation in Omaha, Neb., among business leaders, administration officials and U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra on Thursday; and also on Thursday, a community conversation in Silicon Valley among AOL found Steve Case and senior administration officials. On May 19, Asian-American and Pacific Islander leaders are scheduled to converse on a national conference call with Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis, and on May 31, Solis is scheduled to speak in Albuquerque, N.M., at a roundtable hosted by the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce.
Roll Call notes that Tuesday’s speech will mark the fourth week the president has publicly addressed immigration reform and calls it a re-election campaign move to win over Latino voters.
From Roll Call:
Republicans maintain that the administration needs to commit more resources to protect the border before any legislative action is taken on immigration. Additionally, GOP lawmakers have expressed concerns that sweeping reforms that grant citizenship to more immigrants would harm the nation’s economy.
Obama supports legislation known as the DREAM Act that would create a path to citizenship for college students and members of the military. But Democrats were unable to pass that bill or other immigration legislation during the previous Congress, despite controlling both chambers, and action this year is unlikely.
The politically difficult issue has taken a back seat to jobs, the economy and, more recently, foreign affairs in the wake of the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. Nevertheless, the senior officials said Obama is pressing immigration in an attempt to rally supporters and potentially prompt legislative action.
Less than an hour after delivering his immigration plan, Obama is scheduled to fly to Austin, Texas, where he will speak at two Democratic National Committee events, one at the Moody Theater (located on Willie Nelson Boulevard), where the PBS program Austin City Limits is taped live, and another at a private residence.