Tags: Immigration | Obama | immigration | Latinos

Obama Tries to Reassure Latinos on Immigration Reform

By    |   Friday, 03 October 2014 12:08 PM

An executive action on immigration is coming this year, President Barack Obama told Latino lawmakers and activists at Thursday night's Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute dinner, but it's not clear that his frustrated audience believes him.

"For any action to last, for it to be effective and extend beyond my administration  — because I'm only here for two more years — we're going to have to build more support among the American people," said Obama, according to The Hill.

Obama had promised he'd enact an immigration reform order by the end of summer.
However, on Thursday he told those attending the dinner he decided to delay the action until after the midterm elections so he can have more time to explain to Americans "why immigration reform is good for the economy and why it's good for everybody."

Story continues below video.



Last month, reports said three of the U.S. Senate’s most vulnerable Democrats in this year’s midterm elections are urging Obama against immediately proceeding with executive orders to revise U.S. immigration policy.

Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska said Obama’s priority should be border security, while Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire say Obama should not act unilaterally on immigration even though the Republican-led House is unlikely to take up the issue on its own.

And while he urged those at the dinner to "keep believing" and "have his back," he also told them that "we have to be realistic."

The action will move before the end of the year, he told the Latino leaders, as it's "not a question of if, but when."

But by delaying the action, Obama has angered immigration reform activists, who say their hopes for reform are dwindling.

The Hill reported that, during his speech, the president was heckled by an undocumented activist, Blanca Hernandez, who cut him off twice by yelling "we need relief now!"

While security escorted Hernandez out, Obama told the leaders and activists that if "anybody wants to know where my heart is, or whether I want to have this fight, let me put those questions to rest right now: I am not going to give up this fight until it gets done."

Before Obama took the stage, New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez said activists and lawmakers want "big, bold, unapologetic administrative relief for millions" from Obama.

And while the president knows there is "deep frustration" among immigration proponents, he shares their feelings and wants them to keep believing, as "no force on Earth can stop us" if activists stay determined.

But Obama's Latino support has dropped drastically after he announced he was delaying his executive action until after the election. A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows just 47 percent of Hispanic voters approve of Obama's job performance, a dip of 15 percentage points from April 13. Further, just 30 percent of the voters said they are "very positive" about Obama.

Meanwhile, deportations are at a record high under the Obama administration, according to reports from the Office of Immigration Statistics of the Department of Homeland Security.

Deportations increased in 2013 by more than 20,000 people from the year before, with 438,421 immigrants being returned to their homelands for a record number that brings the administration's totals to more than two million since Obama took office.

The report reflects a trend of quickly expelling people caught coming across the nation's border instead of concentrating on immigrants already living within the country, with 44 percent of the people deported in 2013 being sent back shortly after they were caught and without having to appear in immigration court.

And while the nation's immigration courts are mired down with backlogs, another 40 percent of the deportations were done with a fast track procedure, by reinstating old orders that were not carried out before.

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An executive action on immigration is coming this year, President Barack Obama told Latino lawmakers and activists at Thursday night's Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute dinner, but it's not clear that his frustrated audience believes him.
Obama, immigration, Latinos
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2014-08-03
Friday, 03 October 2014 12:08 PM
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