President Barack Obama signaled out Republicans while addressing the Latino advocacy group National Council of La Raza, saying that Congress needs Republican support to pass comprehensive immigration reform laws, according to multiple reports.
During his address, which media outlets have characterized as part of the president’s push to lock in Latino support for his 2012 reelection campaign, Obama said many Republicans who previously supported immigration reform have now reversed their position in favor of measures that tighten immigration enforcement.
“Feel free to keep the heat on me, and keep the heat on Democrats, but here’s the thing to remember: The Democrats and your president are with you. Remember who it is we need to change the laws,” he said.
The Huffington Post reports that during his speech, a group of students stood to protest his deportation of young undocumented immigrants. The students wore shirts that said “Obama stop deporting DREAMers,” a reference to the DREAM Act, legislation that would provide a path to citizenship to young illegal immigrants who came to the US as children.
Although Obama has publicly supported the DREAM Act and other immigration reform measures, deportations have actually increased during his administration. The US deported almost 393,000 people in the fiscal year ending September 30, many of whom were arrested for drunk driving and other traffic violations.