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Weekly Addresses: Immigrations, Efficient Government [VIDEO]

 

As he wraps up a trip to Mexico and Costa Rica, President Barack Obama is following up in his weekly media message, saying that deepening economic ties with the Americas means more jobs in the United States.Boosted by reassuring jobs numbers, Obama is calling for greater trade and economic cooperation with the U.S.’s southern neighbors, arguing that economic prosperity is the best antidote to drug and gang violence and, by extension, to the illegal immigration that the U.S. is seeking to control.

“One of the best ways to grow our economy is to sell more goods and services made in America to the rest of the world,” he said. “That includes our neighbors to the south.”

During the trip Obama has tried to modulate the exercise of U.S. influence. He has refused to insert himself in Mexico’s strategy for confronting narcotrafficking, even if it means more limited access by U.S. security officials to Mexican law enforcement. In Costa Rica, he urged Central American leaders to integrate their economies, reduce their high energy costs and confront the violence in the region.

On Saturday, Obama was scheduled to speak and takes questions at a meeting at a forum in San Jose on economic growth and development.

A theme during the trip was the U.S. effort to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws, an issue of intense interest among Latinos in the United States and in Mexico and Central America.

The vast majority of the 11 million immigrants illegally in the U.S. are from Latin America, 6 million of them from Mexico alone. Obama supports legislation that would give those immigrants a path to U.S. citizenship and he told Univision in an interview aired Friday that he would not sign a bill that did not provide such a pathway. Republicans are demanding greater border security.

“The truth is, right now, our border with Mexico is more secure than it’s been in years,” he said in his radio address. “We’ve put more boots on that border than at any time in our history, and illegal crossings are down by nearly 80 percent from their peak in 2000.”

The immigration legislation should be a compromise, he said, “which means that nobody got everything they wanted — including me.”

In the Republican address Saturday, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory argued that Washington should learn from Republican governors on how to make government work efficiently. He said governors need Washington to give states more flexibility, independence and accountability and called on Obama to show more leadership.

“Like you, when I look to Washington, I see entrenched gridlock and an immediate need for executive leadership. Fortunately, Washington bears no resemblance to states where strong Republican governors are using their leadership skills to improve the daily lives of their citizens,” he says in the address.

“Medicaid reform and energy are just two issues where Republican governors are exerting visionary leadership. I urge the President to join us in North Carolina where we’re working to make government a partner—not an adversary to progress,” said McCrory.

The Associated Press contributed to this story

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