President Barack Obama will participate in a town hall focused on immigration Feb. 25 in Miami with MSNBC and Telemundo anchor José Díaz-Balart.
The announcement follows a ruling earlier in the week from a federal judge that temporarily blocked Obama’s executive action on immigration. Díaz-Balart said Friday that the White House asked him to host the prime-time event at Florida International University because of his “unique cross platform reach” on MSNBC and Telemundo, where he also hosts two shows in Spanish.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for the President to continue to make the case to the American public and in particular to the Hispanic community all across the country that this continues to be a priority to him,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told Díaz-Balart on Friday.
The White House has been adamant that Obama’s executive action on immigration falls squarely within his legal authority.
“This is a judge who had previously been pretty outspoken and outspokenly critical of the President’s efforts to try to and reform our broken immigration system so I don’t know that anybody was taken by surprise,” Earnest said.
Obama defended his executive action in another interview with the host back in December, saying Americans support his effort to shield as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation.
“The American people believe that if you’ve done things the right way, then you shouldn’t be punished for it,” Obama said. “You’re not gonna see Democrats or Republicans who suggest that we’re gonna treat worse the people who did the right thing compared to those folks who don’t register, don’t go through a criminal background check and haven’t been paying their taxes.”