Obama links healthcare, immigration reform

Sept. 17, 2009 at 7:12 AM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Healthcare reform is crucial for Hispanic Americans because reforming the U.S. healthcare system is linked to immigration reform, U.S. President Obama said.

"My commitment is real and so is my desire to get this (immigration reform) done," Obama said Wednesday during the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's 32nd Annual Awards Gala.

Before Obama spoke, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., told crowd, "I know he's going to help us with comprehensive immigration reform."

Of healthcare reform, the president said, "We certainly should not let this debate ... get sidetracked."

Obama told the audience that "probably the proudest moment as president that I've had" was the day Sonia Sotomayor became the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice. Sotomayor, who attended the gala, received a standing ovation.

Obama also noted the number of Hispanics working in his administration exceeds that of previous administrations. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar were among those attending.

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