U.S. President Barack Obama, on a Latin America tour, Saturday touted the trade
opportunities nations to the United States' south present.
Obama, delivering his weekly address from Mexico City, said strengthening economic ties with Latin America could bring about "incredible opportunities" to create U.S. middle-class jobs.
He also advocated passage of a Senate bill to overhaul the U.S. immigration system.
Taking on the role of traveling salesman, Obama said he will go "everywhere I need to go to help our businesses create jobs."
"Now, 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," Obama said in remarks prepared for delivery over the radio and Internet.
"That includes our neighbors to the south," he said. "Right now, over 40 percent of our exports go to the Americas. And those exports are growing faster than our trade with the rest of the world. That's why I visited Latin America this week -- to work with leaders to deepen our economic ties and expand trade between our nations."
Obama said he also discussed immigration reform with Mexico's leaders. While saying border security between the two countries is tighter than it's been in years, the immigration system "is badly broken."
He called the Senate reform bill a commonsense compromise that is "largely consistent with the principles I've laid out from the beginning," providing additional border security, requiring accountability from employers when it comes to hiring undocumented workers and giving those in the United States illegally a way to earn citizenship.
"And it would modernize our legal immigration system so that we're able to reunite families and attract the highly-skilled entrepreneurs and engineers who will help create good paying jobs and grow our economy," he said.
"These are all commonsense steps that the majority of Americans support. So there's no reason that immigration reform can't become a reality this year."
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