Cinco De Maybe: Obama Uses Celebration Of Mexican Culture To Urge Immigration Reform

President Barack Obama is telling Latino lawmakers and Hispanic advocates that they should press House Republicans to act on a broad overhaul of immigration laws.

"Tell them to get on board," Obama said.

The President was observing the Mexican national holiday of Cinco de Mayo in the White House on Monday.

In his official remarks, Obama said, "Our friendship with Mexico has had an enormous influence on our history and our culture and our economy. Today, our governments work together on everything from stopping crime to promoting trade to protecting our environment. And millions of Americans are connected to Mexico through ties of friendship and language and family."

The crowd that gathered in the East Room of the White House included Latino luminaries like Gloria Estefan. President Obama hit the theme of immigration reform hard during his speech, saying, ""I am convinced that America’s prosperity and security depend on comprehensive, common-sense immigration reform. I'm going to work with everybody who’s serious about strengthening our borders, modernizing our legal immigration system, keeping more families together, and getting this done."

Vice President Joe Biden also used the May 5 anniversary to try to pressure House Republicans to follow up on legislation that passed the Senate last year.

The Senate bill would expand border security and provide a path to citizenship for many of the 11 million immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally. Earlier on Monday Biden said that those immigrants shared American values. Biden said, "They may not be citizens, but they are Americans."

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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