Obama: U.S. "more prosperous" thanks to ties with LatAm

Miami, May 7 (EFE).- "The United States is a more prosperous and more diverse country thanks to our partnerships with our southern neighbors," President Barack Obama said in a newspaper op-ed stressing the benefits of friendship with Latin America.

Latin America is "one of the world's most dynamic regions" and forging new partnerships there "will help improve the lives of all our citizens," he said in an article appearing in The Miami Herald.

Obama said that 40 percent of U.S. exports are sent to Mexico, Central and South America.

The president, who just got back from a trip to Mexico and Costa Rica, also stressed that the United States "is the largest source of foreign investment in the Americas."

Obama wants to build an even more ambitious common future with Mexico and other Central American countries, a message that he already relayed to his Mexican counterpart, Enrique Peña Nieto, as well as to Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla and other leaders in the region during his trip last week.

The president said that in the last six years, U.S. exports to Central America have increased by 94 percent, while U.S. imports from the region have grown by 87 percent.

"That's important, because broad-based economic growth doesn't just create more jobs and opportunity in these countries - it also reduces illegal immigration to the United States," Obama said.

With regard to immigration reform, which is currently being debated in the U.S. Senate, the president acknowledged that the bill "doesn't include everything I want, but it's largely consistent with the principles I've laid out: better border security, a path to citizenship, and a legal immigration system that unites families and attracts highly-skilled workers."