Behind the Lens: Photographing the President in 50 Countries

Today, President Obama visits Kenya — the 50th country he has visited during his Administration. It’s also my 50th country traveling with the President.

To mark the occasion, as I did when the President visited his 50th state, I chose one photograph from each country that we’ve visited.

Traveling abroad with the President is very different.

Often times, I am at the mercy of the host country for access. Some countries are more accommodating to me than others. I am lucky to have counterpart official photographers in many countries who are extremely helpful to me in this regard. I of course try to return the help to them when they visit the White House with their head of state.

We’re also rarely in any one country for more than a couple of days, which gives us only a partial glimpse of each place. And because of security, the sites we are able to visit are often limited too.

All that said, we’ve had the incredible opportunity to visit the Pyramids in Egypt, Stonehenge in the United Kingdom, the Great Wall in China, Petra in Jordan, and the Shwedagon Pagoda in Myanmar (Burma). (So I really shouldn’t complain too much.)

I hope you enjoy this gallery. And stay tuned — we’ll be adding a photograph from Kenya and additionally, Ethiopia, following his visit next week.

Afghanistan, 2012

Boarding Air Force One at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, May 1, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

read more

Read more »

This Day in History: Construction Began on Hoover Dam

On July 7, 1930, construction began on the Hoover Dam. President Herbert Hoover was deeply devoted to protecting the environment, particularly focusing on pollution-free water, flood control, and fisheries. After a disastrous Mississippi River flood in 1927, Hoover recommitted to bettering American infrastructure to prevent another catastrophe.

Hoover Dam Workers

Before the Dam could be built the Colorado River had to be diverted through tunnels. This piece of equipment, named a Jumbo Rig, was designed to speed up the tunnel drilling process. Built on the back of a 10-ton truck, 24 to 30 drills could be operated at once. (Department of Interior Bureau of Reclamation)

“[Hoover] Dam will probably be the biggest dam, perhaps the biggest man-made thing in the whole wide world.”

— Fortune Magazine, September 1933

Hoover Dam Early Construction

Early construction in Black Canyon (Department of Interior Bureau of Reclamation)

Think of it as a giant Lego set, with over 200 blocks fitted together to stand 726 feet tall. The Hoover Dam has been called the Eighth Wonder of the World, comparable to the Great Pyramids of Egypt, and “a vision in the desert.”

In the 1940s, the Hoover Powerplant was the largest hydroelectric installation in the world. Today, over 1.3 million people benefit from the 4 billion kilowatt-hours of hydroelectric power the Dam generates each year.

Hoover Dam View from Crest

View from dam's crest during test of Jet Flow gates. (Department of Interior Bureau of Reclamation)

In addition to being an engineering masterpiece, controlling flooding and generating hydroelectric power, the Dam is a national gem, showcasing diverse artistry. Norwegian immigrant Oskar J.W. Hansen sculpted the Winged Figures of the Republic, a pair of 30-foot bronzed statues which guard the Nevada side of the Dam. Hansen stated that the sentinels symbolize "the immutable calm of intellectual resolution, and the enormous power of trained physical strength, equally enthroned in placid triumph of scientific accomplishment." The angels stand on a magnificent terrazzo floor patterned with a star chart from the 1935 date of dedication by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

"The waters of this great river, instead of being wasted in the sea, will now be brought into use by man. Civilization advances with the practical application of knowledge in such structures as the one being built here in the pathway of one on the great rivers of the continent. The spread of its values in human happiness is beyond computation."

—Herbert Hoover, November 1932

Hoover Dam Jet Flow Gate Testing

Jet Flow Gate Testing, June 1998 (Department of Interior Bureau of Reclamation)

Hoover Dam was completed two years ahead of schedule and millions of dollars under budget. Over the years, investment in our nation’s infrastructure has fallen on the backburner, despite its importance for American citizens and our economy. The President has a plan to fix that, by reforming our programs and increasing funding to support our growing population and millions of jobs. It’s time to rebuild America.

President Obama at Hoover Dam

President Barack Obama views the Hoover Dam during a stop at the 1,900-foot long structure which spans the Colorado River at the Arizona-Nevada border, Oct. 2, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Read more »

President Obama Honors the Air Force Academy Fighting Falcons with the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy

This afternoon, President Obama hosted the Air Force Fighting Falcons football team at the White House in honor of their winning the annual Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy. In the East Room, President Obama congratulated the Air Force Chief of Staff... Read more »

Behind the Lens: Photographing the President in 50 States

This week, the President will visit South Dakota, marking the 50th state he has visited during his administration (as such, it's also my 50th state with him). To mark the occasion, I chose one photograph from each state that we’ve visited. This was not as easy as I thought it would be. With help from photo editor Phaedra Singelis, I tried to depict a variety of situations. Some are more lighthearted; some are sad, and some are poignant. Some are with the Vice President; some are with the First Lady, and a couple are with the entire family. A selection of photos are centered on policy, and others on politics. Some focus on the President as Commander-in-Chief -- others on his role as consoler for the nation.

I hope you enjoy this gallery. And stay tuned -- we’ll be adding a photograph from South Dakota following his visit there on Friday.

Alabama, March 7, 2015. Marching at the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Selma. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Alabama, March 7, 2015. Marching at the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Selma. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Alaska. Nov 12, 2009. Air Force One refueling at Elmendorf Air Force Base. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza)

Alaska. Nov 12, 2009. Air Force One refueling at Elmendorf Air Force Base. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza)

Arizona, Aug. 16, 2009. Viewing the Grand Canyon. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza)

Arizona, Aug. 16, 2009. Viewing the Grand Canyon. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza)

read more

Read more »

Round-Up: Editorial Boards From Around the Country Respond to the 47 Republican Senators

Earlier this week, 47 Republican Senators sent a letter to Iran’s leaders that was expressly designed to undercut the President in the midst of sensitive international negotiations. This letter ignores two centuries of precedent and threatens to ... Read more »

Let’s Get Every Kid in a Park

From sea to shining sea, our country is home to gorgeous landscapes, vibrant waterways, and historic treasures that all Americans can enjoy. But right now, young people are spending more time in front of screens than outside, and that means they are m... Read more »

From the Archives: Air Force One and Presidential Air Travel

Click here to see the photo gallery.   The President of the United States must be ready to travel anywhere in the world on a moment’s notice. Fortunately, modern Presidents have access to a variety of transportation options, including ... Read more »

The First Lady’s Box Seats at the 2014 State of the Union

.capBody { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; color: #999; font-weight: normal; line-height: 18px; margin-top: 500px; } .capTitle { font-family: Georgia, "Times New Roman", Times, serif; font-size: 16px; color: #900; font-weight: normal; line-height: 18px; border-bottom-width: thin; border-bottom-style: solid; border-bottom-color: #900; padding-bottom: 2px; padding-top: 10px; } .photoFrame { border: medium solid #FFF; -webkit-box-shadow: 1px 2px 2px 2px #d4d6d9; box-shadow: 1px 2px 2px 2px #d4d6d9; margin-top: 15px; float: none; margin-bottom: 15px; } .imageHolder { width: 500px; vertical-align: text-bottom; padding-bottom: 25px; } mg.bottom {vertical-align:text-bottom;} .nameHolder { float: right; margin-top: -30px; } .bodyCopyWrapper { padding-top: 10px; }

For nearly three decades, extraordinary Americans who exemplify the themes and ideals laid out in the State of the Union Address have been invited to join the First Lady in her viewing box. Learn more about the remarkable individuals who will join First Lady Michelle Obama for the 2014 State of the Union Address:

First Lady Michelle Obama
First Lady Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama is the First Lady of the United States. Continuing a longstanding tradition, extraordinary Americans who exemplify the themes and ideals laid out in the President’s State of the Union Address attend the event as guests of the First Lady.
Dr Jill Biden
Dr. Jill Biden
Jill Biden is the wife of Vice President Biden. An educator and a proud Blue Star mom, Dr. Biden works to highlight the importance of community colleges, to raise awareness about the sacrifices made by military families, and to bring attention to women’s health issues.
Valerie Jarrett
Valerie Jarrett
Valerie B. Jarrett is a Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama. She is also the Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls and she oversees the Offices of Intergovernmental Affairs; Public Engagement; Urban Affairs; and Olympic, Paralympic, and Youth Sport.
Joey Hudy
Joey Hudy (Anthem, AZ
)
“Maker” and Intel Intern
Joey Hudy is a self-described “Maker,” part of a growing community of young people, adults, and entrepreneurs who are designing and building things on their own time. Joey first shot to fame in 2012 when, at 14-years-old, he attended the White House Science Fair where the President took a turn using the contraption he had made -- the “extreme marshmallow cannon” – and launched a marshmallow across the East Room. Joey then handed the President a card with his credo: “Don’t be bored, make something.” Now 16, he has continued to live by his motto, appearing at Maker Faires all across the country. Joey, a proponent of STEM education, is determined to teach other kids about how they can make and do anything they want. Joey lives in Anthem, Arizona with his mom, dad, and older sister. Earlier this month, he started as Intel’s youngest intern, a position Intel CEO Brian Krzanich offered him on the spot at his Maker Faire exhibit.
Jason Collins
Jason Collins (Los Angeles, CA)
12-Year NBA Player
While at Stanford, Jason Collins was selected as an All American, named the NCAA’s “Big Man of the Year,” and earned an appearance in the Final Four. After graduating in 2001, Collins was drafted into the NBA and has since played for six teams including the Celtics, whose then coach Doc Rivers said of Collins: “He’s the best. He literally is one of the best guys I’ve ever had in the locker room, player or coach.” In his 12 years in the league, Collins’ teams earned 9 trips to the playoffs including 2 NBA Finals appearances. In April 2013, Collins became the first male player in major American team sports to come out openly as gay. The President expressed his gratitude to Collins for his courageous announcement through an article Collins penned himself. The President said he “couldn’t be prouder” of Collins, recognizing this as a point of progress for the LGBT community, and one more step in America’s goal to treat everyone fairly and with respect. Collins is 35 and lives in Los Angeles, California.
Carlos Arredondo and Jeff Bauman
Carlos Arredondo and Jeff Bauman (Boston, MA)
Survivors of the Boston Marathon Bombing
Carlos Arredondo and Jeff Bauman are forever linked due to the attacks on the 117th Boston Marathon. In what has become an iconic image from the day in April of 2013, Carlos – wearing his white Cowboy hat – was captured rushing a badly injured Jeff away from the bombing to safety, thereby becoming two of the faces of ‘Boston Strong.’ From his intensive care hospital bed, Jeff played a vital role in identifying the bombers. After losing both legs in the attack, he is battling back, describing himself as a quick healer and stronger now than he was before the attack. Jeff, 27, and Carlos, 53 and a Gold Star Father, have become close friends.
Gary Bird
Gary Bird (Moore, OK)
Fire Chief
Fire Chief Gary Bird represents all of those who rallied together to help the community of Moore, Oklahoma – firefighters, police officers, teachers, neighbors – in its greatest time of need: The immediate aftermath of the EF5 tornado that hit Moore, killing 25 men, women and children and devastating a community of more than 1,000 homes and businesses. Bird and his search-and-rescue crews worked through the path of the storm to rescue survivors. “We will be through every damaged piece of property in this city at least three times before we're done, and we hope to be done by dark tonight,” Bird said in a press conference the evening the tornado hit. Bird began his career in 1981 as a volunteer firefighter in Ninnekah, Oklahoma. After four years as a volunteer, he was hired by the Moore Fire Department, working his way through the ranks. He was appointed Deputy Fire Chief in February 2003, a position he held until being named Fire Chief on June 30, 2012. Bird and his wife, Cindy, have been married for 34 years, and they have a son, two granddaughters, and a six-month-old grandson.
Kathy Hollowell-Makle
Kathy Hollowell-Makle (Washington, DC)
2013 DCPS Teacher of the Year
Kathy Hollowell-Makle was named 2013’s District of Columbia Public School’s Teacher of the Year after more than 15 years teaching in the District. Kathy bega her career in AmeriCorps  as a Teach for America corps member in the District in 1998 and currently teaches at Abram Simon Elementary in Southeast Washington, DC. By the school year’s end, more than 90 percent of her students demonstrate early literacy at proficient or advanced levels and last year, more than 80 percent of her students advanced two or more reading levels. Kathy contributed some of her experience and expertise to a roundtable with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan regarding early childhood education. Kathy emphasizes a positive attitude and focuses on fluency in reading, writing and counting, explaining: “The best part of teaching is having former students recognize me, and being able to see how wonderful they turned out to be.” Kathy lives in Washington, DC with her husband Stephen and two sons Amir and Ian. She is originally from New Orleans, Louisiana.

Aliana Arzola-Pinero
Aliana Arzola-Piñero (San Juan, Puerto Rico)

2013 Kids State Dinner Attendee
Aliana Arzola-Piñero, from San Juan, Puerto Rico, is in fourth grade at the Colegio Puertorriqueño de Niñas. Aliana is an avid reader and gymnast who loves to cook with her grandma, something she’s done since she was two-years-old. She participated in the 2012 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge sponsored by the First Lady. While she didn’t win, she worked hard, tried again, and her perseverance paid off as she proudly represented Puerto Rico at the 2013 Kid’s State Dinner hosted by the First Lady. Her winning recipe “Yummy Eggplant Lasagna Rolls,” incorporates the “My Plate” guidelines. Aliana has worked hard to translate her experience visiting the White House into concrete steps to benefit her community, championing healthy eating and an active lifestyle for kids.

 

Cristian Avila
Cristian Avila (Phoenix, AZ)
DREAMer, “Core Faster” and Voter Engagement Coordinator, Mi Familia Vota
Cristian Avila, 23, was brought to the United States with his younger brother and sister when he was nine-years-old. Though Cristian became an All-American scholar by 7th grade and received a full scholarship to a private Jesuit high school, he was limited by his undocumented status. Last year he received temporary relief from deportation through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The 23-year-old Arizona resident started volunteering with Mi Familia Vota, a non-profit Latino civic engagement program, at the age of 16, and he was one of the core fasters in the Fast for Families demonstration late last year at the foot of the Capitol, which the President, Vice President, First Lady and Cabinet and Administration officials visited. After 22 days, he passed on the fast to others but has continued to push Congress to take up comprehensive immigration reform. Cristian is fighting for commonsense immigration reform so he can one day join the US Marine Corps and serve our country in uniform.
Mary Barra
Mary Barra (Detroit, MI)
Chief Executive Officer, General Motors Company
Mary Barra was named Chief Executive Officer of General Motors effective January 15, 2014. In this role, she leads the company’s overall efforts to strengthen GM globally as an industry leader in automotive design and technology, product quality, customer care and business results. She is also a member of the GM Board of Directors and the first female CEO in the company’s history. Barra began her career with GM in 1980 as a General Motors Institute (Kettering University) co-op student at the Pontiac Motor Division. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering. In 1990, Barra graduated with a master of business administration degree from the Stanford Graduate School of Business after receiving a GM fellowship in 1988. Barra has held a number of positions with GM, most recently as executive Vice President, Global Product Development, Purchasing & Supply chain – in this role she was responsible for the design, engineering, program management, and quality of GM vehicles around the world. In 2013, Fortune Magazine named Barra one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” and Forbes Magazine names her one of the “World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.” Barra lives in the Detroit area with her husband, Tony, and their two children.
Governor Steve Beshear
Governor Steve Beshear (D-KY)
After serving three terms in the Kentucky House of Representatives, and as Kentucky’s Attorney General and Lieutenant Governor, Steve Beshear was elected Governor in 2007. Governor Beshear has worked closely with the Obama Administration to provide affordable health care to the people of Kentucky. In his second term, the Governor extended access to affordable health care coverage to hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians by expanding Medicaid and setting up a new health insurance Marketplace, “Kynect.” If the remaining states that haven’t expanded Medicaid coverage did so like Kentucky, about 5.4 million uninsured Americans would gain access to health insurance coverage by 2016. Governor Beshear is a native of Dawson Springs in Hopkins County, in western Kentucky. He holds a bachelor’s degree and law degree from the University of Kentucky and served in the U.S. Army Reserve. He and his wife, Jane, have been married since 1969. They have two sons and three grandchildren.
Tyrone Davis
Tyrone Davis (Winston-Salem, NC)
Fellow with the Environmental Defense Fund’s Climate Corps
Tyrone Davis, from Winston-Salem, NC, has been legally blind since the age of nine. Despite his vision loss, he ran cross-country and track in high school, and received a political science degree and Masters of Public Administration from North Carolina State University. He developed an interest in environmental issues during his time as an undergraduate, which led to a fellowship with the Environmental Defense Fund in 2010, placing him at Elizabeth City State University, a historically black university. His recommendations showed the school how to achieve savings of more than $31,000 a year, resulting in nearly 200 tons of carbon emissions reductions annually. Tyrone’s father owns and operates a small office cleaning service, while his mother is a cost clerk for the county’s school transportation department. He has one younger brother currently attending North Carolina A&T State University. Now in his third year at Elon University School of Law, Tyrone hopes to use his skills to benefit the environment and make communities safer.
Vice Admiral Michelle Howard
Vice Admiral Michelle Howard (Washington, DC)
Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Operations, Plans & Strategy
This year, Vice Admiral Michelle Howard will become the first female four-star Admiral in the 238-year-history of the United States Navy, and the first African-American female to achieve four-star rank in the history of the military. She was nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate in December. Howard’s initial sea tours were aboard USS Hunley (AS 31) and USS Lexington (AVT 16). While serving on board Lexington, she received the secretary of the Navy/Navy League Captain Winifred Collins award in May 1987. This award is given to one woman officer a year for outstanding leadership. She took command of USS Rushmore (LSD 47) on March 12, 1999, becoming the first African American woman to command a ship in the U.S. Navy. In 2010, she was the Maritime Task Force commander for BALTOPS, under 6th Fleet. Her shore assignments include: J-3, Global Operations, Readiness and Executive Assistant to the Joint Staff director of Operations; Deputy Director N3 on the OPNAV staff; Deputy Director, Expeditionary Warfare Division, OPNAV staff; Senior Military Assistant to the secretary of the Navy; Chief of Staff to the director for Strategic Plans and Policy, J-5, Joint Staff, and Deputy Commander, US Fleet Forces Command. Vice Admiral Howard is a 1978 graduate of Gateway High School in Aurora, Colo. She graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1982 and from the Army’s Command and General Staff College in 1998, with a Masters in Military Arts and Sciences.
Sabrina Simone Jenkins (Charleston, SC)
Sabrina Simone Jenkins (Charleston, SC)
Sabrina Simone Jenkins – through obstacle after obstacle – has persevered in getting herself educated, determined to make a better life for herself and her family. Sabrina is a single mother to her teenage daughter Kenya. After serving in the Air Force, Sabrina took classes at DeVry University while working full time, graduating with a 3.7 GPA at the age of 42 – all while caring for ailing family members and becoming seriously ill herself. Sabrina then earned her master’s degree in human resources in 2012. Sabrina is currently saddled with nearly $90,000 in student loan debt, something that will only worsen as she pays for Kenya to go to college. Sabrina’s remarkable resolve through incredibly difficult circumstances brought her to the attention of The Shriver Report, which seeks to highlight the 1 in 3 American women living on the brink of poverty. The President is determined to help people like Sabrina – Americans who are working hard and doing the right things – get ahead.
Mayor Ed Lee (San Francisco, CA)
Mayor Ed Lee (San Francisco, CA)
Mayor Edwin M. Lee is the son of Chinese immigrants and the first Asian-American Mayor of San Francisco, a position he’s held for more than three years. He previously served as San Francisco’s City Administrator and Director of the Department of Public Works. In 2013, he hosted a series of town halls to mobilize the Silicon Valley business community in support of immigration reform. Mayor Lee is also working on a proposal to significantly increase San Francisco’s minimum wage. In 2012, the U.S. Department of Education awarded a five-year, up to $30 million Promise Neighborhoods implementation grant to support school improvement and revitalize the Mission neighborhood in San Francisco. Originally from Seattle, Washington, Mayor Lee graduated Summa Cum Laude from Bowdoin College in 1974 and Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley in 1978. He and his wife, Anita, have two daughters, Brianna and Tania.
Andra Rush (Detroit, MI)
Andra Rush (Detroit, MI)
Founder and Chairperson, The Rush Group, Detroit Manufacturing Systems
Andra Rush is a descendant of the Mohawk Tribe from the Six-Nation Reservation, and the founder and chairperson of the Rush Group family of companies, which include Rush Trucking, Dakkota Integrated Systems, and Detroit Manufacturing Systems. This consortium of manufacturing, trucking, assembly, and distribution is one of the largest Native American-owned businesses in the country. Rush started her first company, Rush Trucking, in 1984 with only three trucks and successfully grew the company to include 800 tractors and 1,350 trailers. In 2012, Ms. Rush launched Detroit Manufacturing Systems Ltd., LLC (DMS), a joint venture between Rush Group Ltd, LLC and Faurecia. DMS manufactures and assembles automotive interior components in the City of Detroit and grew to more than 600 employees in its first year of operations, the largest new manufacturing employer in the City of Detroit in decades. The company’s first customer was the Ford Motor Company, building interior components for the Mustang and F-150 pickup truck. In 2012, she was appointed to the U.S. Manufacturing Council, which is the principal private-sector advisory committee to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce on manufacturing matters. She was also appointed by Governor Rick Snyder to serve as a trustee for Michigan’s Children’s Trust Fund. Ms. Rush has a Bachelor of Arts in Nursing (1982) from the University of Michigan. She has three sons.
Amanda Shelley (Gilbert, AZ)
Amanda Shelley (Gilbert, AZ)
Physician Assistant
For years, Amanda Shelley, a 37-year-old physician assistant from Gilbert, Arizona, was unable to get insurance due to a pre-existing condition. That all changed on January 1, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Two days later, Amanda began having severe pain in her abdomen, which at first she ignored – something she was used to doing because she was previously uninsured. The next day, when the pain became too much to bear, she went to the emergency room and eventually had emergency abdominal surgery. Amanda is one of millions of Americans who now knows the security that comes with quality, affordable health insurance.
Antoinette Tuff (Atlanta, GA)
Antoinette Tuff (Atlanta, GA)
DeKalb County Bookkeeper
On August 20, 2013, the world learned of the compassion and heroism of Antoinette Tuff, the DeKalb County bookkeeper who prevented a shooting at Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy, an elementary school in the suburbs of Atlanta. Tuff, a mother of one daughter and one son, talked the would-be shooter down, sharing her personal struggles, discussing love and doing her best to connect with him until he surrendered before harming anyone. Now, instead of being known for another tragic school shooting, August 20, 2013 is remembered for one woman’s grace under pressure. The President called Tuff after the ordeal and has said what she did was “remarkable.” Antoinette has been nominated for the Carnegie Medal for civilian heroism.

Additional guests will be announced in the week leading up to the State of the Union, so check back here, or at WhiteHouse.gov/SOTU to get more information. In the meantime, here’s how to stay updated, and learn more about the 2014 State of the Union: 

  • WhiteHouse.gov/SOTU: Check out WhiteHouse.gov/SOTU for an enhanced viewing experience of President Obama's State of the Union address.
  • Get email updates: Sign up and make sure you’re among the first to get exclusive content before and after the speech
  • Follow us on Twitter: Make sure you’re following @WhiteHouse on Twitter for news and real-time updates before, during and after the address.

 

Read more »

Bipartisan Support for Immigration Reform Strengthens During August Recess

As members of Congress go home to their districts for the August recess, they are hearing directly from Americans of all political stripes who are calling for a vote on commonsense immigration reform. In hundreds of town hall meetings, business roundtables, vigils, pilgrimages and rallies across the country, supporters of immigration reform including evangelicals, business owners, labor and law enforcement leaders, are asking their representatives to pass legislation to fix our broken immigration system as soon as they return to Washington in September.

Pro-reform supporters are making waves across the country as they continue to build momentum for immigration reform. The broad coalition of constituents who support reform is stronger and more bipartisan than ever. They have a clear message: Congress must work to fix our immigration system as soon as members return to the Capitol this fall.

In a meeting last week with the Modesto Chamber of Commerce, Representative Jeff Denham, a Republican lawmaker from California, expressed his support for moving commonsense immigration reform legislation in the House: “I thought we'd get this done before the August work period. I think the Senate made tremendous progress. It was done bipartisan [sic] and I thought that would be enough to get the House moving forward."

Both Senator Richard Durbin and Representative Bill Foster, Democratic lawmakers from Illinois, met with local Aurora business and community leaders to talk about the Senate’s bipartisan immigration reform bill, describing it as a “compromise” and stating that comprehensive legislation must include a “tough but fair” path to citizenship.

During a discussion with other Republican governors in Aspen, Colorado during the last week of July, Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie voiced support for immigration reform “Allowing the system to continue in the broken way that it is now is negative for America’s economy and it’s also bad for these folks who now have had children in this country and some of them grandchildren in this country," which demonstrates that support for immigration reform comes from both sides of the political aisle.

This is just a snapshot of the meetings that lawmakers are having with their constituents all over the U.S – the message is clear, a majority of Americans want to see their Representative address the issue of immigration reform. 

Events discussing the positive economic benefits for immigration reform continue to take place across the country. Just today, the Bibles, Badges and Business kicked off a South by Southwest (SXSW) conference with a panel of CEOs to discuss the importance of immigration reform to the business community. This panel, attended by over 1,500 tech entrepreneurs is part of an ongoing discussion on how immigration reform will help grow our economy and create jobs.   

The White House and the Administration are also part of the growing chorus of voices making the case for commonsense immigration reform. Last week, U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker hosted a roundtable with business leaders in Des Moines, Iowa to highlight the economic benefits of fixing our immigration system.

This summer, the White House released a series of reports that add to the mounting evidence demonstrating that fixing our immigration system and creating an earned path to citizenship would add a big boost to our economy, strengthen Social Security, and modernize our legal immigration system to make it more consistent with our values. Reports include the economic case for immigration reform, detailing how it impacts each state as well as the agricultural community.

As support continues to grow from the American people, the White House and the President will support bipartisan efforts in the House of Representatives to pass this commonsense legislation as soon as possible.

 

 

Read more »

Celebrating the Soldier Athletes on Team USA

As President Obama said in a recent Weekly Address, Americans could not be prouder of the men and women representing our country in London, in both the recently concluded Olympics and in the upcoming Paralympics. And this year, Team USA inc... Read more »