Obama says he can’t do much to stop deportations

By Balitang America Staff, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Nov. 26, 2013

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – President Barack Obama said that he will not take executive actions to stop the deportations of undocumented immigrants. He said this would violate laws and he does not have the constitutional power to bypass Congress on the issue.

During his speech on Monday in San Francisco, the president was heckled by undocumented college student, Ju Hong, who asked him to stop deportations and help reunite his family for the holidays.

Hong belongs to the group Asian Students Promoting Immigrant Rights through Education (ASPIRE). The group claimed that up to 400,000 undocumented immigrants are deported every year under President Obama’s term.

During President Obama’s speech, Hong told him, “You have the power to stop deportation for all undocumented immigrants!”

President Obama replied, “Actually, I don’t. And that’s why we’re here.”

The Democratic-led Senate passed an immigration bill earlier this year that includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

But the bill has stalled in the House of Representatives. Many Republicans oppose a path to citizenship.

David Leopold, past-president and general counsel of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) said President Obama was right. He explained, “The constitution does not allow him to wave a magic wand and change the law. What he can do is focus on criminals, on national security risks and he can use prosecutorial discretion and deferred action and that he can do and that was done. But for him to wave a magic wand and say, ‘I’m stopping the enforcement of immigration laws,’ believe you me, they would start impeachment proceedings real fast because he can’t do that.”

Leopold pointed out that it’s tragic that so many undocumented immigrants, even those without criminal records, get deported every year.

He said, “We need to ask Immigration and Customs Enforcement, border patrol and Immigration and Citizenship Services why they’re not working to implement those priorities…why we’re not welcoming the best and the brightest in this country. We need a complete overhaul of the immigration system. But in the meantime, these agencies have to follow the president’s directive. And that’s to prioritize and throw out people who can do us harm.”

Even with only few legislative days left before the holiday recess, Leopold said there’s still time for Congress to tackle immigration reform, whether as one comprehensive bill or as smaller bills.

He concluded, “A piecemeal approach is nothing new. It doesn’t matter if it’s one bill, or two bills or ten bills — as long as it gets done.”

3 Comments on this post.

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  • ID
    26 November 2013 at 7:42 pm - Reply

    Obama, your the man, now all Undocumented Immigrants know, where they all stand ? Goodbye to all Undocumented Immigrants, we knew all a long that if you broke the law, you will be deported. It’s about time Obama told all Undocumented Immigrants the right anwser ! GOODBYE TO YOU ALL UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS !

  • HELLO
    27 November 2013 at 8:02 am - Reply

    What a insult to Vargas, going around America telling people about his experience begin a Undocumented. Obama is right not you, so go back to the philippines ! You broke the law my friend so stop telling people about Undocumented people in America ! Goodbye Good Luck.

  • JD
    27 November 2013 at 8:09 am - Reply

    Ha, Ha, Ha, Obama said it right, he can’t do anything about Undocumented Immigrants. All of you broke the law in America. So now get ready to go back to your home. All 4 million Undocumented your all going to be deported.

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