News / USA

New York 'Town Hall' Urges Obama to Act Alone on Immigration

Activists Urge President to Act Alone on Immigrationi
X
Daniela Schrier
August 30, 2014 10:57 PM
New York immigration activists are calling on President Barack Obama to unilaterally end deportations and allow undocumented immigrants to work legally by the end of the summer. Daniela Schrier has more from New York.
New York immigration activists are calling on VIDEO: President Barack Obama to unilaterally end deportations and allow undocumented immigrants to work legally by the end of the summer. Daniela Schrier has more from New York.
Daniela Schrier

Undocumented mothers literally stood up for their rights in New York, calling on President Barack Obama to keep his promise for executive action on immigration reform.

At New Yorkers for Real Immigration Reform, an informal "town hall" at CUNY's Baruch College campus on Tuesday, the women said they want the president to use his executive authority to enact reforms without Congress — as he vowed in a late-August speech — and unilaterally end deportations and allow undocumented immigrants to work legally by the end of the summer.

Legislation to reform immigration procedures has been tied up in Congress and some conservative House Republicans have threatened to withhold funding to the U.S. government if the president seeks administrative relief for immigrants unilaterally.

“President Obama ... came out on June 30, he said if Congress cannot act, if they continue to allow such a broken system that does more harm than good, then he will act," said Betsy Plum of the New York Immigration Coalition. "And that is completely within his executive power.”

Last week's town hall, which brought together immigration activists, undocumented immigrants and politicians to call for a pathway to citizenship, was mobilized largely via social media. The hashtag #Allin4Relief is used by the activists to gather support online for administrative action.

But President Obama has said his executive powers will have limits.

“Even with aggressive steps on my part, administrative action alone will not adequately address the problem," he said in a recent speech. "The reforms that will do the most to strengthen our businesses and workers and our entire economy will still require an act of Congress.”

Congressional action, says Project 21’s Horace Cooper, is the only way to solve the current immigration dilemma.

"The right answer is for the White House and Congress to come together and work collaboratively to develop a solution to the issues involving immigration," she said. "Whether those are minor or whether those are significant, that is the process the Founders intended. That’s what the American people expect and that’s the normal way to proceed and it will minimize the likelihood of significant political blowback, litigation or other kinds of concerns."

The town hall's co-host, Linda Sarsour of the Arab American Association of New York, rallied the crowd to keep fighting for more substantive and broader reform.

“I want you to remember that administrative relief is only the beginning. It is not the end. We will not stop fighting until every undocumented immigrant in this country has a pathway to citizenship and they become voting citizens," she announced to cheering supporters.

The event closed on a celebratory note, with many hopeful that the president would soon enact policies to protect undocumented immigrant families despite staunch resistance from conservatives.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mark from: Virginia
August 31, 2014 4:50 PM
Now, if the shoe were on the other foot, and undocumented workers from America were illegally moving into Mexico to work, would these same people be happy about it? The answer to that is No.
An opportunity missed by our Immigration officials, I think, for not seizing these undocumented workers, illegal immigrants, and send them packing back to whatever country they hail from. I have no issue with folks wanting to immigrate to the United States, but do so legally, through legal channels, and become naturalized citizens before making demands of the Government who's border they violated.
And, one other small point (I may be nit-picking here, but)... be respectful and at least TRY to learn the language of the 'host' country. This way, we (the legal residents here) are not having to be forced to learn yours.

by: Local Man from: Oregon
August 31, 2014 12:36 PM
The best solution is to grant renewable 6-month worker visas. Most immigrants and would-be immigrants from Mexico and Central America are young men looking to work hard, buy a pickup truck and GO BACK to their girlfriend and their pueblo. With the 6-month visa the farmers will have a supply of ridiculously hardworking labor during peak months, we consumers get our handpicked peaches, these men will be able to return to their families and help their country for half the year, and we can improve monitoring and control of people coming across our Southern Border.

This is not the infamous H-2 Visa program, where immigrants are tied to a single employer who can easily exploit them. This new visa would enable workers to work legally and move freely between jobs during their six months, reducing unscrupulous employers’ means and motivation for exploitation. I am an American farmer and teacher who has lived in Mexico and worked with immigrants in multiple settings. This is what the migrant laborers want, this is what farmers want, and this option should be offered BEFORE considering granting citizenship.

by: Diana from: 92882
August 30, 2014 10:59 PM
Who the hell do these people think they are. They are criminals and have the nerve to make demands of any kind, to the American people. I tell you what Obama, put it up for a vote. In the next Federal election put this issue of illegals on the ballot and let the American people vote on it. Then the rule of law will have been satisfied. 70-80% of the American people are not in agreement with them or you on the issue of Immigration Reform. I dare you to face the truth!
In Response

by: SaneIndn from: Syracuse
August 31, 2014 12:40 AM
Well, a comprehensive bill was passed in the senate and sent to the house. But the republicans are the ones who don't have the spine to put it on a vote in the house where they have a majority - why? because if it comes to a vote, it will pass.

Healthcare and immigration are two issues Obama said he would address during his 2008 campaign.

To answer your question about who those people are - relatives of citizens like you and me. A significant group of citizens are under duress about the possibility of their family being torn apart by an immigration system that takes decades to process a case. Will you be willing to wait that long to establish a better life?

That significant portion is now strong enough to matter in elections and that is why we see this issue being brought up with such audacity. Here is news for you - their strength will grow as time progresses.

As far as my views go, we have an immigration system that needs to be streamlined to avoid backlogs and make it more efficient. Or solve the immigration issue for people in the line/present in the country and remove the immigration provision once and for all from this nation.

Either way, there has to be a workable solution to this problem. It is simply a pie in the sky to dream about 30 million deportations and venting out when these people hold demonstrations.

by: Sean from: Denver
August 30, 2014 8:25 PM
Let's start by temporary relief and legalization - even if no path for naturalization and citizenship is possible, the country and illegals get to both gain from legalization.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festivali
X
April 24, 2015 4:09 AM
Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Keeping Washington Airspace Safe Is Tall Order

Being the home of all three branches of the U.S. federal government makes Washington, D.C. the prime target for those who want to make their messages and ideas heard. Unfortunately, many of them choose to deliver them in unorthodox ways, including from the air, as a recent incident clearly showed involving a gyrocopter landing on the Capitol’s West Lawn. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.

VOA Blogs