WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama used an Independence Day ceremony in which immigrants serving in the US military became citizens on Wednesday to renew his election-year call for new immigration laws popular with an important part of his political base.

Wearing a red tie to celebrate the July 4th holiday at the White House, Obama addressed about two dozen foreign-born military personnel who were taking advantage of a program that offers them citizenship in return for their service.

Obama, who is running for re-election in November, seized the opportunity to talk up his recent order lifting the threat of deportation for hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children.

The move appealed to Hispanic voters, a major voting bloc that could swing the election to the Democratic incumbent in battleground states such as Nevada and Colorado.

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