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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

America's Most Exotic Presidential Pets

From alligators to bears, the White House has been home to some unusual presidential pets over the years More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
 Previous    
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.
Comments page of 2
 Previous    

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs