On immigration reform, de Blasio backs Obama

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Bill de Blasio speaks to the League of United Latin American Citizens convention. (Rob Bennett/Mayoral Photography Office)
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Addressing the largest Hispanic organization in the country on Tuesday evening, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he supports President Obama’s decision to use executive action to address immigration reform.

Obama recently said he was starting "a new effort to fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress," after Speaker John Boehner told him the chamber's Republican majority would continue to block a vote on immigration reform.

“I think it has been made clear to us by the House Republicans that they simply will not move on immigration," de Blasio said. "I think in light of that, the president is absolutely right to find any executive way he can to move on immigration reform now."

The mayor's comments came at the 85th annual League of United Latin American Citizens convention, which is being held in Midtown this week. De Blasio used the opportunity to not only cement his position on immigration reform at the national level, but to tout some of the initiatives his administration has accomplished in recent weeks, including the approval of a municipal identification card bill by the City Council.

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“I think localities need to do more too. We’re very proud of the fact that this week we’ll sign here in New York City a municipal ID card law to make sure that anyone, regardless of their documentation status, can be treated like a fellow New Yorker,” he said to applause.

LULAC is the oldest Hispanic civil rights organization in the country, founded in 1929 with the intention to create an organization that would empower its members to create and develop opportunities where they are needed most.

“Never before has a major national Latino institution held a convention here,” Ralina Cardona, LULAC's national vice president for the northeast, told the audience before introducing de Blasio. Cardona described de Blasio as a “leader that respects, appreciates and values the contributions of the Latino community.”

De Blasio said the fact that "for the first time in 85 years, this gathering is happening in New York City ... is a sign of good things to come in our city. We are one of the hearts and souls of Latino America.”

He then listed some of the campaign promises he has fulfilled, such as the implementation of expanded paid sick leave, universal pre-kindergarten, and his announced plan to build or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing in the next decade.

In what has become routine for his public appearance and press conferences, de Blasio concluded his remarks by summarizing his speech in Spanish.