President Barack Obama paid a visit Thursday to 1776, a local tech start-up hub, in order to advocate for immigration reform and applaud the tech sector for their contributions to economic growth, CBS News reports.
The start-up 1776 hosts a variety of new and rapidly growing tech companies in Washington, D.C. President Obama’s visit follows a stream of attention from high-profile political figures. Washington Mayor Vincent Gray has repeatedly mentioned the startup hub in many public speeches, and last year 1776 was visited by Queen Rania of Jordan.
“My hope is the American people look at today’s news and understand that in fact we are making strides,” President Obama said to the audience of entrepreneurs. “We have not seen more consistent job growth since the ’90s but we can make even more progress if Congress is willing to work with my administration and to set politics aside at least occasionally, which I know is what the American people are urgently looking for.”
Obama used the event to discuss recent job gains, particularly the announcement Wednesday from the Labor Department that 288,000 nonfarm jobs have been added to the economy in June, surpassing projections. In the “52 straight months of job growth,” the tech sector has seen tremendous gains.
Obama also used the opportunity to pressure Congress to move forward with policies that signify “economic patriotism,” and touted immigration reform and infrastructure projects as two major examples.
“We can’t fix a broken immigration system that would allow incredibly talented folks who want to start businesses here and create jobs here in the United States, would allow them to stay and make those investments. That’s something that we need Congress to help us on,” Obama added.
A Gallup poll conducted recently which matches with a variety of other independent surveys, however, shows that immigration reform does not have popular support among average Americans.
“In order for us to make real progress, the president must do more than criticize,” said Speaker of the House John Boehner. “From trade to workplace flexibility, there’s no shortage of common ground where he can push his party’s leaders in the Senate to work with us.”
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