News / USA

Immigration Reform Advocates Urge Obama to Stop Deportations

Pamela Dockins
Immigrant rights advocates are urging President Barack Obama to use his executive authority to stop the deportations of illegal immigrants. Some arrests were made Monday when dozens of advocates rallied in Washington.

Religious and civil rights activists chanted and prayed alongside illegal immigrants near the White House as they urged the president to stop the deportations, which they say are tearing families apart.

Methodist Bishop Julius Trimble said he wants comprehensive, humane immigration reform that provides a pathway to citizenship.

"A majority of people who are detained and deported have no criminal record or have done no crime," he said. "They are just here because they don't have documentation and we don't have a pathway for dealing with those persons who are our neighbors or parts of our churches and who have businesses in our communities."

One of those undocumented immigrants is Gerardo Torres. He's from Mexico, but he said he has lived in [the U.S. state of] Arizona for more than 20 years.

"I want to have the freedom to go to my country and visit my family and just the freedom of movement," he said. "That's all I want."

Police moved in and arrested some of the demonstrators after they edged closer to the White House.

Jessica Vaughan is director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies. The group believes the law should be changed to meet U.S. economic needs -- not to satisfy the demands of those who have entered the country illegally or overstayed visas.

She said it would be wrong for Obama to stop the deportation of undocumented immigrants.

"Not only would it be a bad political move, it would be a horrible thing for public safety, national security, and immigration law enforcement in general for him to do that. Enforcement is already about as bare-bones as it gets," she said.

More than 1.9 million undocumented immigrants have been deported since Obama took office in 2009. The rate of deportations under his administration is outpacing that of his predecessor, President George W. Bush.

During a November speech in San Francisco, the president heard first-hand from immigration reform advocates who are unhappy with his policy.

Obama said he needs to rely on Congress.

"If in fact I could solve all these problems without passing laws in Congress, then I would do so," he said. "But we are also a nation of laws. That is part of our tradition."

The Senate passed immigration reform last year, but the legislation has stalled in the House.

House Speaker John Boehner has said he is pessimistic about immigration reform passing this year.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
by: Susan from: Ohio
February 18, 2014 12:17 AM
The reason why we have 11 million illegal immigrants is because
the federal government did not enforce laws and deport them
In Response

by: mary from: Brooklyn,NY
February 20, 2014 9:13 AM
How do you feel if your husband get deported after 51 years living in
New york and serving in the marines and you wont be able to see him anymore, because the country in where he was born is not the same as yours? Also, being here since he was 5 years old he should be considered an american. My husband doesn't speak spanish. I am an american citizen they should take that in consideration also.

by: anotherview2 from: California
February 17, 2014 11:47 PM
Illegal aliens have no right to live and work in America. An illegal alien has broken the law by his illegal immigration. U.S. Congress and Mr. President: Make the federal E-Verify program mandatory nationwide, and apply it to both job applicants and existing employees. This program screens for a right to work. With no job, the illegal aliens will self-deport, at their own expense -- no national roundup necessary. Jobs will open for citizens at a time of high unemployment.

America can get along without illegal aliens, and will prosper all the more.

by: Joel Wischkaemper from: Longmont, CO
February 17, 2014 11:08 PM
I want to thank the VOA for taking comments from the Centre for Immigration Studies. We hear endless reasons for accepting the massive effort of the illegal aliens to become free of restrictions, and seldom any of the down issues with the illegal aliens. Their web site is at... cis dot org... and it is well worth while for doing research there.

by: nancy from: lexington
February 17, 2014 10:48 PM
Have americans and congress forgot who was in this country first let me remind u american indians the ones that white man take away burn their home destroyed their familes handed them lies on peace treaty what right u have to say who stay or go they have right to make better life same as white man did when come to america
In Response

by: Raduski from: Maine
February 18, 2014 1:02 PM
Claudia L is all that's wrong with the Republican Party today, Hypocrites and cowards. If this country really wanted the Illegal immigrants out, it would happen just as quick as attacking a middle eastern country. Money is never a problem with these invasions isn't it? Americans are hard working is like saying that Mexicans are all drug dealers(witch is actually one of your strongest argument)

I met a lot of Americans that were really lazy. They rather collected unemployment than work for 10$ an hour. But no, you don't see that. Most, if not all of the produce on your every day table is worked by "illegals". Also you don't see the fact that Most of our Greatest "AMERICAN" Companies and Corporation gave millions of our jobs to China, Taiwan,India and others Instead of giving it to us. Why? Wouldn't you rather have those jobs instead of cleaning mountains of dishes or toilets every day for minimum wage?
In Response

by: Claudia L from: USA
February 18, 2014 7:47 AM
I don't know if you noticed but things have changed in 500 years as "We the People" now have immigration laws to protect our jobs and Social Services from being squandered. And that is the purpose of Immigration Law.

US citizens have MORE of a right to a better life because THEY HAVE PAID FOR IT IN TAXES ALL THEIR LIVES!!!
In Response

by: Joel Wischkaemper from: USA
February 17, 2014 11:20 PM
I don't want to go into the history of the Americans that should be called .. "first settlers". They were hunter gatherers, did not own land, and did not claim xyz as 'their' land. They generally moved into an area, hunted it out, and then moved on. But when they did move into an area, they came in ones and twos, built very simple shelters, and hunted the area out, and moved on. When the Bison became mainstays of many tribes, the first wars between tribes began, and were there when the Europeans arrived. As the horse became the mode of travel for the plains Indians, Americans who moved into the area were treated as all the other tribes attempting to encroach on their hunting grounds, and were fought as they fought among themselves.
The issue is intensely complicated and not even vaguely as other suggest it is.
Finally, the issues of that time are not the issues of this time. They do not compare.
Comments page of 2

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs

Day in Photos

A dog, with his fur dyed green and wearing antlers made out of red fabric, poses for a photograph before participating in the Thanksgiving Day Parade in El Paso, Texas, United States, Nov. 26, 2015.

A dog, with his fur dyed green and wearing antlers made out of red fabric, poses for a photograph before participating in the Thanksgiving Day Parade in El Paso, Texas, United States, Nov. 26, 2015.