President Obama visits Nashville to discuss immigration

Barack Obama

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – President Barack Obama was in Nashville Tuesday afternoon for a scheduled town hall meeting.

Airforce One landed in Music City around 1:35 p.m. with Nashville’s own Congressman Jim Cooper and Congressman Steve Cohen of Memphis on board.

President Barack Obama in Nashville
President Barack Obama arrives to Nashville

Much of the president’s time in Nashville was taken up by a town hall meeting at Casa Azafrana community center on Nolensville Pike in south Nashville. The center is home to nearly a dozen non-profits that offer services to immigrants and refugees, where he answered around a dozen questions about his recent controversial action on immigration reform.

Prior to answering the questions directed at him, President Obama lauded Nashville’s immigrant community before offering a 15 minute defense of his latest action which allows a way for 5 million immigrants to stay in the United States, including an estimated 40,000 in Tennessee.

“A future administrator might try to reverse some of our policies, but I’ll be honest with you, I think that the American people basically have a good heart and want to treat people fairly. Every survey shows, in fact, that someone has come out and subjected themselves to background checks, registered, paid their taxes, that the American people support [it], allowing them to stay,” President Obama said during his address.

Read the full transcript of the town hall meeting here.

President Barack Obama in Nashville
President Obama stepped off Airfoce One with Nashville congressman Jim Cooper and Memphis congressman Steve Cohen.

Supporter Mayra Yu, a Mexican immigrant, told the Associated Press she came to stand outside the community center to thank President Obama for his actions that could protect millions of immigrants from deportation.

Along with the excitement that surrounded the president’s arrival, protesters also lined the streets holding handmade signs to voice their concerns.

The president left Casa Azafran to return to Washington DC just before 5 p.m.

Crews worked all day Monday preparing and setting up the stage for the president’s meeting.

In addition, both local and federal law enforcement agencies were on-sight since the announcement of Obama’s arrival to make sure the venue was safe for his arrival.

Barack Obama
President Obama addressed a crowd of around 75 people Tuesday.

“Since the announcement was made the president was coming to Casa Azafran, secret service and the White House staffers have taken over. Today is when it really hit home,” said Renata Soto, Executive Director of Conexion Americas.

Conexion Americas is one of the organizations that operates in the community center. The group helps Latino families with integration into the local community.

Co-founder Jose Gonzalez said Nashville has one of the fastest growing immigrant populations in the country, which makes it a perfect place for President Obama to address immigration.

“Luckily, Nashville and Middle Tennessee for a long time now has been seen as a place that is inclusive and welcoming,” Gonzalez said.

Tuesday’s visit was President Obama’s second trip to Nashville in less than year. In January, he spoke at McGavock High School.

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