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Obama: Immigration Not Just a Latino Issue

In Chicago on Tuesday, President Barack Obama wants to show that the issue of legalizing immigrants is not just a Latino issue.
Image: Joselyn Vargas, 7, of Hyattsville, Md., waves a U.S. flag during a rally across from the White House
Joselyn Vargas, 7, of Hyattsville, Md., waves a U.S. flag during a rally in Lafayette Park across from the White House in Washington, Friday, Nov. 21, 2014, thanking President Obama for his executive action on illegal immigratio. Vargas' parents are eligible under the executive action as the girl and her younger sister are U.S. citizens. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Continuing his campaign to show immigration is an issue that affects more than Latinos, President Barack Obama is speaking Tuesday at a Polish community center in Chicago.

The president's trip will also include a roundtable discussion with immigration leaders at the Polish American Association, and he will speak later at the Copernicus Center, an arts culture and community center named for Nicholas Copernicus, whose heliocentric model changed the word's thinking of the universe.

Obama is not attempting such a dramatic reshaping of American thinking in his immigration campaign, but he has tried to dispel beliefs that only Latinos are illegally entering or staying in the country and will be the only ones to benefit from last week's executive order that could assist up to 5 million people.

"Understand that not everybody who comes here is Latino. Sometimes that's the face of immigration. Let me tell you, I'm from Chicago. We've got some Irish immigrants whose papers aren't in order. We've got some Polish immigrants whose papers are not in order. We've got some Ukranian folks. Down in Florida, we've got some Haitian folks. This is not just a Latino issue. This is an American issue," Obama said last week in Las Vegas.

Chicago has been rallying around immigrants, immigration reform and the president's executive order forming a coalition of business, community leaders and government officials to help immigrants integrate, lobby for reform and get families who may qualify for Obama's ordered deportation deferrals ready for what they need to submit.

Obama is to be introduced at the community center by Chicago restaurateur and Irish immigrant Billy Lawless, the Illinois Business Immigrant Coalition said in a statement.

The coalition said Lawless immigrated from Ireland in 1998 and started an Irish pub that employed 10 people. He now has three Chicago restaurants that employ 260.

“This is what we immigrants do,” said Lawless “We work hard, we contribute, we create jobs – especially our undocumented immigrants.”

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., planned to attend the events, his office said. Gutierrez, an immigration champion, said the president's visit is "going to broaden the face of our (immigrant) community."

"Today we are going to talk about the story I always want to talk about that that we talk about too little and that is the diversity of the people effected by the executive decision by the president," Gutierrez said on MSNBC's The Rundown with Jose Diaz-Balart.