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

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    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.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora