Last week, the President embarked on his sixth trip to Latin America, traveling to both Mexico and Costa Rica. This trip was an important opportunity to reinforce the deep cultural, familial, and economic ties that so many Americans share with Mexico and Central America. At the invitation of President Enrique Peña Nieto, the President traveled to Mexico City on May 2nd and 3rd to discuss the broad range of bilateral, regional, and global issues that bind the United States and Mexico, including economic competitiveness, people-to-people connections, global and regional leadership, and citizen security.
To read the full joint statement, click here. The White House also released a fact sheet on the U.S. and Mexico’s partnership which underscores the bilateral relationship between both countries. Read it here. After giving a speech at the National Anthropology Museum in Mexico City, President Obama traveled to San Jose, Costa Rica, where he participated in a bilateral meeting with Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla at Casa Amarilla.
President Barack Obama and President Laura Chinchilla of Costa Rica participate in a cultural event with Costa Rican youth at Casa Amarilla, San Jose, Costa Rica, May 3, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
In his May 3rd meeting with the Presidents of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, and the Dominican Republic, and the Prime Minister of Belize, President Obama discussed citizen security cooperation and the importance of building safe communities that contribute to a favorable business and investment climate, highlighting our comprehensive regional partnership to improve citizen security and our support for economic growth and development in Central America.
President Obama and President Chinchilla also participated in a joint press conference, as well as a working dinner. During the press conference, the President spoke about the friendship and economic ties between our two countries:
“Costa Rica shows the benefits of trade that is free and fair. Over the last few years, under the Central America Free Trade Agreement, our trade with Costa Rica has doubled, creating more jobs for people in both of our countries. Our partnerships are creating more opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurs, including young people and women. As I told President Chinchilla, the United States will continue to be your partner as Costa Rica modernizes its economy so that you’re attracting more investment and creating even more trade and more jobs.”
Upon his return to Washington, President Obama published an Op-Ed in the Miami Herald and the Nuevo Herald about improving our partnership with Latin America. On Sunday, the President released a statement in honor of Cinco de Mayo in which he reflected upon his trip to the region and the need for common sense immigration reform:
“This week, I was proud to visit Mexico to reaffirm our vision for the Americas as a region of shared opportunity and prosperity. I left even more convinced that we have historic opportunities to expand trade and make our economies even more competitive, so that we continue creating good jobs in both of our countries [. . .] I also emphasized the need to pass commonsense immigration reform that lives up to our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants, including generations of Mexican Americans who have enriched our country [. . .] Cinco de Mayo reminds us that America’s diversity is America’s strength. Today, as we celebrate the contributions and history of Mexican Americans and Hispanics in America, let us celebrate the larger story of America and our unique immigrant heritage.”
This week we officially launched our “Mensaje Semanal de la Casa Blanca” featuring Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the Domestic Policy Council, on the President’s trip to Mexico and Costa Rica and the imperative to pass immigration reform this year.
Watch the video or download the audio here.
As always, please share with your networks and have a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend!
Julie Chavez Rodriguez Associate Director White House | Office of Public Engagement
CMS Announces Opportunity to Apply for Marketplace Navigator Grants April 9, 2013 The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the availability of new funding to support Navigators in Federally-facilitated and State Partnership Marketplaces. Navigators are individuals and entities that will provide unbiased information to consumers about health insurance, the new Health Insurance Marketplace, qualified health plans, and public programs including Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Court Approves Plan To Provide Comprehensive Services To ELL Students In Denver Public Schools April 16, 2013 A federal court in Denver approved a comprehensive consent decree between the Department of Justice, the Congress of Hispanic Educators (CHE), and the Denver Public Schools (DPS) that requires DPS to provide language services to the more than 28,000 English Language Learner (ELL) students enrolled in the district’s 170 schools. The consent decree is the product of compliance monitoring by the department and the CHE, and DPS’s recognition that the 1999 order no longer reflected the district’s own best practices for serving ELL students.
HHS releases blueprint to advance culturally and linguistically appropriate services in health and health care April 24, 2013 Health and Human Services (HHS) today released enhanced National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in Health and Health Care – a blueprint to help organizations improve health care quality in serving our nation’s diverse communities.
Fact Sheet: Administration Partners with Industry to Get Service Members Credentialed for High-Demand Jobs April 29, 2013 At the White House Forum on Military Credentialing and Licensing, First Lady Michelle Obama announced the IT Training and Certification Partnership, a new public-private partnership that will enable thousands of service members to earn industry-recognized information technology (IT) certifications before they transition from military service. The Administration also announced a new grant program through the Department of Health and Human Services that will help veterans with health care experience pursue professional nursing careers and earn a nursing license.
Obama Administration Simplifies, Significantly Shortens Application For Health Insurance April 30, 2013 The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today announced that the application for health coverage has been simplified and significantly shortened. The application for individuals without health insurance has been reduced from twenty-one to three pages, and the application for families is reduced by two-thirds. The consumer friendly forms are much shorter than industry standards for health insurance applications today.
President Obama Visits Mexico and Costa Rica President Obama made his fourth visit to Mexico and continued on to Costa Rica on what was also his sixth visit to Latin America. On this journey, the President highlighted and reinforced the deep cultural, familial, and economic ties that so many Americans share with Mexico and Central America. Disponible en español aquí.
The International Influences of Cinco de Mayo Favorites Over the years, Cinco de Mayo has become more mainstream, with celebrations that bring together music, art and cuisine shaped by the rich culture and international influences of Mexico and Latin America. Avocados, cilantro, and chili peppers are a few key ingredients for traditional Cinco de Mayo dishes. Each of these sees significant retail and sale activity during the holiday week, and each come with its own unique story.
Supporting Local Communities by Building Capacity and Cutting Red Tape One year ago, the President established the White House Council on Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) that established an innovative new model of federal-local collaboration dedicated to assisting communities get back on their feet and create jobs by helping them better leverage federal resources and form key partnerships to implement economic visions. Teams of federal employees are embedded with seven Mayors across the country to provide tailored technical assistance to cut through red tape, increase government efficiency, and build partnerships to help local leaders implement sustainable economic plans.
For Guatemalan Workers, a Ray of Hope Trade agreements between the United States and other nations are not just about the free exchange of goods and services; they’re also about protecting the workers who produce and provide them. In a global economy, protecting workers’ rights abroad helps protect workers’ rights here at home by ensuring a fairer global playing field.
Secretary Napolitano Meets With Counterparts From Mexico Recently, Secretary Napolitano met with Mexican Secretary of the Interior Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, furthering the collaboration between the United States and Mexico on our shared responsibility for issues related to migration, border security, and facilitating legitimate travel and trade.
Apply for the Fall 2013 White House Internship Program The application for the Fall 2013 White House Internship Program is now open. This hands-on program is designed to mentor and cultivate today’s young leaders, strengthen their understanding of the Executive Office of the President and engage them in public service opportunities. Learn more about the program and the application process. The deadline to apply is May 12, 2013.
USCIS Hosts Spanish-language Enlace Sessions On Wednesday, May 8, 2013, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (Eastern), the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will conduct a national Spanish-language Enlace session as part of an ongoing series of quarterly public engagements to provide agency updates, discuss immigration-related topics, and answer your questions. USCIS representatives will be available for participants to discuss regulations, policies, operations, and forms, but will not offer legal or case-specific advice. The event will be broadcast live from USCIS Headquarters and you can participate by: