Washington, DC - President Obama invited National League of Cities (NLC) President Marie Lopez Rogers, mayor of Avondale, Arizona, to sit in the gallery with First Lady Michelle Obama during tonight's State of the Union address. The White House made the announcement today.
The granddaughter of immigrants, Mayor Rogers grew up toiling side-by-side with her parents in the migrant farm labor camps around the city of Avondale before growing up to be its mayor. Over the course of her public career, she has been a tireless supporter of comprehensive immigration reform. During tonight's address, President Obama is expected to highlight the need for comprehensive immigration reform.
Fixing the nation's broken immigration system is a top priority for the nation's cities and a key legislative agenda item for the National League of Cities this year. Our nation's immigration system is broken and causes economic and cultural strains in our communities.
The National League of Cities is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.
Statement from Mayor Rogers:
"I am honored to join First Lady Michelle Obama at tonight's State of the Union. As I sit in the Capitol tonight, I will represent city officials from across the country who every day see the tragic consequences of our broken immigration system: Families forced to live underground or torn apart altogether, and businesses unable to hire qualified talent since as a nation we chase away new graduates with college degrees.
"The current system unduly burdens local governments to the detriment of our nation's cities. Comprehensive immigration reform is needed to allow cities to work at integrating immigrants into the fabric of our communities. This way, immigrants can be recognized for the contributions they already make and be allowed to contribute even more. The nation must pursue comprehensive immigration reform now and we support the President and the bipartisan group of Senators in their diligent efforts to pass this necessary legislation. "
Mayor Rogers is available for interviews on Tuesday before and after the speech.