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.

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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
sooner.
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.
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