News / USA

Obama Takes Heat from Pro-Immigration Groups

Pro-immigration activists gathered near the White House
Pro-immigration activists gathered near the White House
Laurel Bowman

U.S. President Barack Obama came into office with strong voter support among Hispanic Americans, while promising to make immigration reform a top priority.  But many lawmakers in Washington oppose easing restrictions on immigration and instead demand a crackdown against illegal immigration. 

Hundreds of pro-immigration activists gathered recently near the White House to send President Obama a message:

“We are here to collect on the promises he made to us," said a female activist.

That promise was sweeping pro-immigration reform. The rally was equal parts political theater, voter outrage and dance party.

"Hey, hey, Obama, don’t deport my mama!," chanted the protesters.

Such appeals against deporting mamas are not helping this mother. She says when she called police during a domestic violence dispute, she was arrested.  She now faces deportation.

“I am fighting not to be separated from my daughter and for justice for the millions of immigrants in this country," she said.

Police detained Congressman Luis Gutierrez of Illinois and other activists during the protest.  Gutierrez supports immigration reforms, including an end to deporting undocumented, immigrant college students.  These protestors say more than 1 million immigrants have been deported since Mr. Obama's election.

Speaking to Hispanic activists recently, the president blamed Republicans for failing to enact immigration reforms.

“Let’s be honest, I need a dance partner here and the floor is empty," said President Obama.

Political analysts say Mr. Obama needs Hispanic voters to win re-election in 2012.  But a recent Gallup Poll shows his approval rating among Hispanics has slipped.

At the rally, the anger was palpable.

“The United States is deporting veterans and that is not American," said Vietnam war veteran Manuel Valenzuela.

Business leaders testifying on Capitol Hill also seek immigration reform.  But their interests are more narrow. They seek quick visa approval for high tech foreign employees. They say the United States is losing top workers because the immigration process is so cumbersome.

Microsoft attorney Brad Smith says other countries have friendlier immigration policies toward top talent.

“The world economy has changed," said Smith. "It used to be that people would move in search of the right jobs.  Now jobs move in search of the right people.”

NASDAQ CEO Robert Greifeld says high-skilled immigrants in the U.S. create jobs.

“Among the Fortune 500 companies, we found at least 14 NASDAQ companies with foreign-born founders," said Greifeld. "These companies have created over $522 billion in market capitalization and employ over 500,000 workers.”

With a sluggish economy, and a still unresolved debate over raising the debt ceiling, there’s much uncertainty in Washington.  But one thing is sure:  those waiting for comprehensive immigration reform are going to wait a little bit longer.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More