Why President Obama is Heading to Nashville to Talk About Immigration

Maria Estrada, right, sits with her daughter, Janessa, 4, and husband, Servando Rivas in Nashville. (Mark Humphrey/AP)

Nashville, the home of country music, is also the home of tens of thousands of people from other countries.

The city has one of the fastest growing immigrant populations in the United States, including Mexicans, Burmese, and as many as 11,000 Kurds lured by the modest cost of living, job opportunities and an international community. One out of every eight people in Nashville was born abroad and 16 percent of the city’s residents speak another language at home, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

That’s why President Obama on Tuesday afternoon will travel to Nashville to visit a social service center for immigrants where he will try to drum up support for his executive action last month to defer the deportations of up to 4 million undocumented immigrants for three years.

“We have one of the fastest growing immigrant groups in the country,” said Renata Soto, co-founder of Casa Azafran, the community center Obama will visit. “We are glad that the president is coming here to highlight that immigrants are part of every community and every corner of our country.”

The president’s event in Nashville will mark his third trip outside Washington to rally public support for his executive actions, following speeches in Las Vegas and Chicago late last month. The White House hopes Obama’s personal appeal on immigration can help rebut fierce criticism by Republicans, who have attempted to paint him as an imperial president intent on circumventing Congress.

But the move risks provoking Republicans just two days before government funding is due to expire and some conservatives on Capitol Hill have called for the GOP to force a showdown on Obama over the budget as a way to protest his immigration actions. In addition to his speech at the community center, Obama is scheduled to defend his moves in an interview in Nashville with the journalist Jose Diaz-Balart of the Spanish-language network Telemundo.

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SOURCE: The Washington Post

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