Obama Says He's 'Champion-in-Chief' of Immigration Reform

Image: Obama Says He's 'Champion-in-Chief' of Immigration Reform President Barack Obama participates in a town hall event with moderator Jose Diaz Balart, center, and television host Enrique Acevedo at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. on March 6.

Friday, 07 Mar 2014 09:56 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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President Barack Obama Thursday referred to himself as "champion-in-chief of comprehensive immigration reform" in response to criticism about record number of deportations, USA Today reported.

At a Hispanic town hall meeting held in Washington, one of the moderators asked the president why Latinos should trust him, informing him that "his reputation had been tarnished among Latinos over deportations."

Obama replied: "Until Congress passes new laws, I am constrained in what I'm able to do." Until then, he said, he’s bound by law to deport illegal immigrants.

The Pew Research Center reported last year that under the Obama administration, deportations of illegal immigrants have risen to record levels.

In 2011, 392,000 were removed from the country, 48 percent of them for committing crimes including drug trafficking, driving under the influence and entering the country illegally. In 2012, that figure reached 419,384, according to PBS Newshour.

Since Obama took office, nearly 2 million illegal immigrants have been removed, Janet Murguia, president of the National Council of La Raza, to come up with the nickname of "deporter-in-chief" for Obama. 

Obama told the audience that his record speaks to his support for Hispanics.
"I think the community would understand that I've got their back and I'm fighting for them," he said.

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