Furor Erupts over Obama Claim that He is Powerless to Stop Mass Immigrant Deportations

Friday, September 20, 2013
Mexicans being deported from Texas (photo: LM Otero, AP)

With immigration reform stalled in Congress, immigration advocates have called on President Barack Obama to use his executive powers to freeze mass deportations of illegal immigrants who have not committed a crime in the United States. Obama responded publicly this week by saying he doesn’t have the authority to take such action—which only further upset pro-immigration groups.

 

Obama appeared on Telemundo, a Spanish-language network, claiming it was “not an option” to freeze deportations, estimated at more than 1,000 per day, because to do so “would be ignoring the law in a way that would be very difficult to defend legally.”

 

Immigration reform leaders soundly rejected Obama’s remarks.

 

“Unless the president alters course, he risks cementing his legacy as having presided over the most anti-immigrant administration in history,” Pablo Alvarado, executive director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, told The Washington Post.

 

Alvarado added that the president has an “obligation to lead the national debate through bold action.”

 

Cristina Jimenez, managing director of United We Dream, an advocacy group, told the newspaper: “He does have the power to stop deportations, and we will keep challenging him.”

 

Last year, the administration broke the government’s record by deporting nearly 410,000 people.

-Noel Brinkerhoff

 

To Learn More:

Obama Comment on Immigration Draws Anger, Frustration (by David Nakamura, Washington Post)

Obama, on Telemundo, Rules Out Freezing Deportations of Most Illegal Immigrants (by David Nakamura, Washington Post)

Obama Administration Spends More to Enforce Immigration Laws than On All Other Law Enforcement Combined (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)                      

Obama Scores Political Points with Suspension of Deportation of Immigrants Brought to U.S. as Children (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)

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