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

Video Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney 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.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid