Hispanic immigrants have been petitioning President Barack Obama to stop the deportations of undocumented immigrants. During his tenure in office the president has deported close to 2 million immigrants, more than any other administration to date. Democrats are focusing their attention on the complaints from Latinos because the Democrats fear that the anger Hispanic voters feel toward the current administration will dramatically impact the turnout for the upcoming midterm elections.
President Obama has stated that his goal is to help undocumented immigrants find a legal path to citizenship, and to avoid separating families by deporting one or more members. The president met with immigration advocates recently to discuss his policies on protecting law-abiding immigrant families, and he vowed to adjust how immigration laws are enforced. Obama also discussed how immigration activists can help push his vision for immigration reform forward with votes and non-violent support. He has explained that a new immigration system is the only way to address the issues activists have and to fix the problem of the large number of people being deported.
Many of the activists in attendance agreed with the president that legislation is the only way to fix the broken immigration system. Leaders of groups like United We Dream (a youth organization) and Center for Community Change told the president that until there is more action to protect immigrants in the U.S., rather than reviews and meetings, they will continue to fight for an end to deportations.
Because the Republican party does not support Obama’s goal of reforming the immigration system this year, the issue has been stalled in the House, and many Republicans feel that if the president makes a legislative decision on his own, he will be sidestepping United States law. Even the Republicans that agree that immigration laws should be reformed do not support the president’s desire to act alone. A spokesman for the House Speaker explained in an interview that was published on New York Times.com that reform should be carried out as a democratic process, and if the president takes it into his own hands, that decision “would damage – perhaps beyond repair – our ability to build the trust necessary to enact real immigration reform.”