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Obama and Kenny talk immigration, TTIP on St. Patrick's Day

President Obama has welcomed Irish PM Kenny on his yearly St. Patrick's Day visit. This year, Kenny has shown his support for Obama on issues of trade and immigration.

Donning a green tie and waving his W.B. Yeats anthology, a gift from visiting Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, US President Barack Obama joked about this opportunity to "trot out" his Celtic roots while promoting American-Irish ties.

Obama hosted the Irish PM, known in Ireland as the Taoiseach, on Tuesday for their yearly St. Patrick's Day meeting. This year, the pair used the important Irish holiday to urge Congress to follow Obama's lead on immigration, citing the influence waves of Irish immigration have had on the US.

"We share the view that one of the great strengths of the US has always been its willingness to welcome new immigrants to our shores. That's what makes us unique and special," Obama, himself the descendant of an Irish immigrant, said.

No 'luck' for Republican budget

He said he had been hoping for some "luck of the Irish," as the Republicans unveiled their proposed budget and continued to block

his executive action allowing millions of undocumented immigrants amnesty

, which was tied up in the courts following a Republican lawsuit.

Watch video 01:01

Irish celebrate St. Patrick's day

Unfortunately, said Obama, the proposed budget "is a failure to invest in education, infrastructure, research and national defense."

Obama and Enda also used the occasion to pledge support for the

US-EU free trade agreement TTIP

, with Kenny stating that the next six months would be imperative in deciding if the deal can come to fruition before the president leaves office.

"We're very big supporters of this," Kenny told reporters.

Since coming to office, Obama has embraced a tradition begun by President Harry S. Truman to mark the festival of all things Irish.

"It allows me to trot out my Irish heritage and brings back incredibly fond memories of my visits to Ireland," he said, thanking Kenny for the books of Yeats poetry, saying the Irish Modernist was one of his favorite poets.

es/kms (AP, AFP)

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