Members of Congress have joined immigration advocates in pressuring Obama to stop deporting people who qualify for immigration reform. Here’s what’s happened in the last week alone:
- John Molina, a 46-year-old Colombian immigrant, interrupted the President during a speech at Central Connecticut State University, yelling: “Mr. Obama, stop the deportations!”
- Today, DREAMers and their families in Florida are protesting his Miami speech.
— FLImmigrantCoalition (@FLImmigrant) March 7, 2014
- NCLR and Janet Murguía, among the White House’s most loyal allies, made headlines by calling him the “deporter-in-chief.”
- Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) criticized the President for his over-harsh enforcement on immigration, and Republicans for continuing to insist that the President is not enforcing the law enough.
- Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Dick Durbin (D-IL) all called on Obama to stop separating families.
Obama appeared stung by the criticism, insisting that he is the “champion-in-chief” of immigration reform and saying that “I think the community understands that I’ve got their back and I’m fighting for them.” Both comments were met by derision from immigration activists.
Obama has repeatedly claimed that his hands are tied on immigration and enforcement, but that’s simply not true. Take the case of Jose Alfredo Ramos Gallegos, which we lifted up today. Jose has been living in Ohio for 24 years and is a father of two US citizen children. He is now facing deportation because 15 years ago, he re-entered the US after being deported, in order to stay with his pregnant wife. Under the Obama Administration, prosecution of re-entry cases are up 76%. Obama’s Department of Justice and its US Attorneys have the discretion to stop cracking down on people who are just trying to reunite with their families. It would be a small task for someone who is really our “champion-in-chief.”