Immigration Reform: Obama to make address in Texas

May 10, 2011, 09:43 by R.E. Christian

President Barack Obama plans to deliver a speech in El Paso, Texas, on the importance of reforming U.S. immigration policy, the White House said.

The president's trip to Texas Tuesday will include a tour of the cargo facility at the Bridge of the Americas Port of Entry, the largest of four crossings that comprise the El Paso Port of Entry, the White House said in a statement.

After the tour, the president will speak at Chamizal National Memorial in El Paso, describing the role of immigration reform in meeting U.S. economic and security needs, the White House said.

The Bridge of the Americas processes commercial, private vehicle, bus and pedestrian traffic entering and leaving the United States and Mexico. An estimated 50 million inspections are conducted annually at the El Paso Port of Entry.

In his speech, Obama will urge Americans to work together to promote what the White House called "a constructive national conversation on this important issue as we work to build a bipartisan consensus in Congress."

The president has discussed immigration in recent weeks with various U.S. religious, business and law enforcement officials, as well as with current and former elected office holders. The White House said Obama wants to have "a civil and constructive debate" on immigration.

"As we work to rebuild the economy, our ability to thrive depends, in part, on restoring responsibility and accountability to the immigration system," the statement said. "President Obama believes Democrats and Republicans should come together to tackle an issue that is critical not only to our national security but also to the economy and our global competiveness."

The White House said the president has asked leaders with whom he has met in recent weeks to take active roles "in elevating the immigration debate."

The announcement identified several events scheduled for this month at which labor, law enforcement, religious and business leaders will hold conferences on the issue -- including a roundtable in Omaha at which business leaders and administration officials will discuss immigration, and a conference in Silicon Valley featuring Steve Case, Founder and former chief executive officer of AOL and chair of the Startup America Partnership.

Source: UPI