An impassioned heckler interrupted President Barack Obama as he spoke about immigration reform at an event in San Francisco Monday, sparking a brief back and forth about deportation.
The heckler, an undocumented immigrant from South Korea, shouted at the president to use his executive order to "stop deportation for all," according to ABC News.
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"You have the power to stop deportations!" the man, who is reportedly a graduate student in San Francisco, yelled, also saying something about how so many families will be separated for Thanksgiving.
"Actually, I don't," the president shot back. "And that's why we're here."
Security personnel briefly attempted to get the heckler off stage but Obama stopped them.
"These guys don't need to go," the president said. "He can stay there. ... I respect the passion of these young people."
Immigration reform has taken a backseat over the last few months as Democrats and Republicans struggled with the government shutdown and sparred over Obamacare. Now, many are urging Obama to bypass Congress and sign off on an executive order to reduce the number of deportations.
But the president instead appealed to Republicans to help pass immigration measures.
"If in fact I could solve all these problems without passing laws in Congress, then I would do so. But we’re also a nation of laws. That's part of our tradition," Obama said. "The easy way out is to try to yell and pretend like I can do something by violating our laws. And what I’m proposing is the harder path, which is to use our democratic processes to achieve the same goal that you want to achieve. But it won’t be as easy as just shouting. It requires us lobbying and getting it done. For those of you who are committed to getting this done, I am going to march with you and fight with you every step of the way."
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