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Obama, joined by broad coalition, hosts immigration reform event today

Making the case that immigration reform enjoys widespread support, President Obama will be joined this morning at the White House by business, labor and religious leaders, as well as law enforcement officials and immigration activists. The president will stress the economic and security benefits of immigration reform and lend his support for the bipartisan work in the Senate over the immigration bill.

Those invited include law enforcement officials like Sheriff Adrian Garcia from Harris County, Texas and former New York City Police Department Chief of Police Bill Bratton; mayors like Julian Castro from San Antonio, Texas and Paul Bridges of Uvalda, Georgia; as well as U.S. Chamber of Commerce president Tom Donahue and AOL co-founder Steve Case.  Former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, a Republican who started a political action committee to support pro-immigration reform, is also expected to attend.

The event comes as the Senate plans to vote this afternoon to bring the immigration bill to the floor for its first vote — a cloture motion to proceed with the immigration debate. While the Senate is expected to have the votes, both chambers are still engaged in an intense debate over key aspects of immigration legislation. While both the Senate and House have bipartisan groups that support reform, there is also opposition from some legislators on key parts of the bill.  Texan Republican Senator Ted Cruz said yesterday that including a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants — one of the key aspects of the Senate immigration reform bill — would doom passage of the legislation.  Last week Iowa Congressman Steve King introduced an amendment that would eliminate deferred action for DREAMers.

Gaby Pacheco, a DREAMer and Director of The Bridge Project, will attend the White House event today. She tells NBC Latino that while immigration reform was never going to be easy, “we’ve allowed it to be politicized for too long. The broad coalition that will attend today shows our diversity — there is support from business, labor, police and sheriffs, and evangelicals and church people.”

Even more importantly, she adds, it is important for people to see undocumented Americans like her.

“We’re your neighbors, and contributing members to society,” says Pacheco.  “I’ll be there to say I’m one of the 11 million, and we just want you to give us a chance.”

RELATED: Ted Cruz: he’s a proud “wacko bird,” Obama is one blocking immigration reform 

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