Eric Narvaez, an Army veteran and wounded warrior, said he fought for his country – only to come home to a different kind of war in the United States.
“I love this country,’’ he told President Barack Obama on Wednesday. “But I’m facing another war – trying to keep my mother here.’’
After thanking Narvaez for his service, Obama said his plan for immigration reform would allow Narvaez’s mother – and millions more like her – to stay in the United States.
“The message I want to send today is that we are not prioritizing people like your mother for enforcement or deportation,’’ he said. “We are prioritizing felons, criminals, gang members – people who are a threat to our communities – not families who have lived here a long time.”
The exchange was part of a town hall meeting on immigration held Wednesday at Modesto A. Maidique Campus.
The event was organized by Telemundo and MSNBC and hosted by anchor Jose Diaz-Balart. It airs tonight at 7 p.m. on Telemundo, Channel 51, and at 8 p.m. on MSNBC.
FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg opened the event saying Miami – and FIU – were the most appropriate places to host a discussion on immigration.
“We live it every day,’’ he said. “This is the place that has discussed and debated immigration more than any other… and we are thrilled to be a part of this conversation with the president of the United States, Barack Obama.’’
FIU, with more than 54,000 students, is the largest Hispanic-serving university in the nation and the largest producer of Hispanic graduates in the country.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told MSNBC earlier in the week that the decision to hold the meeting in Miami was strategic.
“It makes for an interesting, dynamic place and a great symbol of how immigration has made our country unique,” he said. A televised event would also allow the president to connect with Hispanics throughout the country, Earnest added.