Immigration activists urge Obama to act boldly

Latinos and immigration activists want the president to curb deportations and allow more immigrants to remain in the U.S.
Associated Press
Apr 15, 2014

Latinos and immigration activists are warning of political peril for President Barack Obama and Democrats in the fall election unless the president acts boldly and soon to curb deportations and allow more immigrants to remain legally in the U.S.

Many activists say Obama has been slow to grasp the emotions building within the Latino community as deportations near the 2 million mark for his administration and hopes for immigration legislation fade. With House Republicans unlikely to act on an overhaul, executive action by Obama is increasingly the activists' only hope.

"There is tremendous anger among core constituencies of the president and the Latino and Asian communities in particular," said Deepak Bhargava, executive director of the Center for Community Change, which champions immigration change. "He has a momentous choice to make."

Activists credit their sit-ins and hunger strikes for Obama directing new Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to review the administration's deportations policy and suggest ways to make it more humane. Now they're focused on ensuring they get the outcome they want — an expansion of Obama's two-year-old policy allowing work permits for immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children who have been in school or the military.

The program has helped more than 600,000 people. Activists want it expanded to include more immigrants, such as those who have been in the U.S. for at least five years or who since their arrival have had children. Depending on how it's defined, that could help many millions more.

Obama has said he doesn't have the authority to take such a step without Congress. At a White House meeting with religious leaders Tuesday he emphasized he wouldn't act on his own while there still was a window for congressional action, participants said.

Republicans have warned that a unilateral move by Obama would end any possibility for cooperation on immigration legislation. A bill to improve border security and offer a path to citizenship for many of the 11.5 million immigrants here illegally remains stalled in the GOP-led House 10 months after passing the Senate.

But many activists say they've all but given up on Republicans and argue that Obama has the responsibility and authority to take expansive steps to legalize large segments of the population. They worry that Johnson's review will produce only small measures aimed at slowing deportations and improving procedures.

"At this point anything short of an affirmative administrative relief program for parents of U.S. citizens and Dreamers is not enough," said Lorella Praeli, director of advocacy at United We Dream, which represents immigrants brought here illegally as kids, known by their supporters as Dreamers. "The clock on Obama has run out."

Administration officials haven't tipped their hand on the timing or outcome of Johnson's review, though activists anticipate initial steps fairly soon. Peter Boogaard, spokesman for the Homeland Security Department, said the review will be completed expeditiously and the aim is to see "if there are areas where we can further align our enforcement policies with our goal of sound law enforcement practice."

Despite the complaints from activists, Republicans accuse the Obama administration of inflating its record on deportations by counting people removed as they're attempting to cross the border or shortly thereafter. In the 2013 fiscal year more than 60 percent of the nearly 370,000 deportations were of recent border crossers, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Immigration activists, meanwhile, say they feel betrayed by Obama, who was elected with strong Latino and Asian support in 2008. They complain his strategy of winning GOP cooperation by increasing enforcement has failed.

Cynthia Diaz, 18, participated in a six-day hunger strike outside the White House last week to protest her mother's detention. She pointed to Obama's promise to prioritize immigration reform.

"That's how he got the Latino vote, and now he just stabbed us in the back," Diaz said, adding she and others would think twice in the future before supporting the president and his party.

Democratic pollster Celinda Lake said recent polling shows a drop-off in enthusiasm among Latino voters. "Lack of progress on immigration is hurting our chances of getting these voters out to vote," Lake said

Immigrants' rights leaders say executive action by the president would energize Latino and Asian voters, as happened before the 2012 election when Obama deferred deportations for young immigrants. However, it also could mobilize conservative voters.

Frustration has spilled over onto some of Obama's allies in Congress. Protesters from California were arrested last week after swarming the offices of Democratic Reps. Loretta Sanchez and Xavier Becerra to push toward stronger action.

"We're doing everything that we can," Sanchez later complained. "So when they come and they pressure us it's almost like, 'Guys, we understand where you're coming from, but what we need to do is we need to get a vote out of" House Speaker John Boehner. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said activists were giving "a gift to the Republicans" by targeting Obama instead of the GOP.

Obama expressed a similar complaint at a meeting with immigration rights groups last month, asking officials present to give him 90 more days and meantime keep the focus on the GOP. Participants portrayed a president getting drawn reluctantly into contemplating executive action and focused, at least initially, on smaller steps that he told them would likely not satisfy them.

That meeting, and Obama's announcement of a review by Johnson, came shortly after Janet Murguia, head of the National Council of La Raza, labeled Obama "deporter in chief."

Now activists are waiting for Obama's next step.

"The pressure for sure is working, and I think the question is how bold are they ready to go," said Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. "The hard part is this is not a bold administration, and especially on immigration where the focus has been on legislation."

Comments

Stop It

If you are in this country illegally, you have no first amendment rights.

STFU and like it.

JudgeMeNot

Like.

coasterfan

And......it's your particular brand of Republican Intolerance that leads the vast majority of Latinos to vote Democrat. Such a stark difference between the two parties, isn't there? We Dems welcome any and all. We're an open, inclusive bunch. If I had to sum up Republicans in one word, it would be "haters".

Darwin's choice

You moron! What part of illegal do you wish to state here you agree with?

Go ahead, show everyone the azzhat you are!

JudgeMeNot

Like.

Donegan

LOL! The most intolerant party in American history wants to point fingers. You welcome who votes for your party while keeping them in poverty, just look at Detroit and Chicago.

The Big Dog's back

And LA,(Lower Alabama), Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma. All welfare states, and all Repub, right wingnut states.

Donegan

Cannot say anything good about your party so you point fingers. Typical for a hypocrite Dem.

The Big Dog's back

I've said it before, you just refuse to listen.

Stop It

I have my own POV and since it disagrees with yours, I'm automatically named a Republican? That shows tolerance?

KnuckleDragger

LOL. That's because idiots like coaster believe that helps them win the argument. He says the same about me, when the truth is, aside from Mitt Romney I hadn't voted for a Republican since Ronald Reagan. I am a Libertarian, and have been voting as such for years.

JudgeMeNot

Democrats need more victims because they can’t generate enough on their own.

wasthere

Because someone knows the meaning of the word "illegal" that makes them a republican? I think coasterfan has been sniffing the exhaust fumes from his Prius.

rbenn

Some acts of love by illegals, 42. Mexican national deported from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania after sexually assaulting a minor. The 43-year-old was arrested by U.S. authorities on charges relating to exploitation of a child. The victim was a 7-year-old girl.

41. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deports an El Salvadoran man suspected of kidnapping in his home country. The man was illegally in Penitas, Texas when he was captured by U.S. law enforcement.

40. Mexican Citizen Caught Allegedly Smuggling 140 lbs. of Pot 34-year-old Francisco Manuel Villa-Ruiz of Cananea, Sonora, Mexico allegedly attempted to smuggle 53 packages of marijuana weighing 139 pounds in his vehicle's back seat and quarter panels at an Arizona border crossing.

39. Pedestrian Foreign National Reportedly Caught with $15K in Meth An unnamed 40-year-old male was apprehended after reportedly attempting to walk through an Arizona border checkpoint with $15,000 in methamphetamine.

38. Mexican Septuagenarian Arrested with Nearly $200,000 in Coke, Heroin 70-year-old Andres Gamez-Garcia Cajeme, Sonora, Mexico was reportedly found with 14 packages of heroin and cocaine.

37. Mexican National Allegedly Busted with $165K in Meth 40-year-old Fernando Cejudo-Nevarez of Nogales, Sonora, Mexico was allegedly caught with 10 packages of methamphetamine at the Mariposa crossing in Arizona.

36. Mexican National Allegedly Caught Smuggling $81,000 in Narcotics into US A 20-year-old Mexican national was reportedly caught attempting to smuggle large quantities of drugs into southern California using vacuum-sealed bags hidden in his vehicle's fuel tank.

35. Guatemalan Arrested with $1.16 M in Drug Money in Arkansas A Guatemalan national was a member of a large international organization that imported cocaine into the United States and was described by U.S. authorities as ‘a trusted member’ who could ‘speak directly’ with the organization’s leader in Guatemala.

34. Washington State: Mexican National Ran US Front Company to Hide Cartel Meth Ring A Mexican national in the U.S. illegally was sentenced on Monday to ten years in prison for distributing methamphetamine and running a front group for Mexican cartels.

33. Thirty Days: Mexican Narco-Rings on US Soil in Alabama, Idaho, Oregon Three US states saw separate large, Mexican-led narcotics rings either busted, indicted, or sentenced in a thirty day period.

32. Four Mexican Nationals Sentenced as Part of Large Narco Operation in Idaho Illegal immigrants were charged and sentenced for operating a large narcotics ring in the Northern U.S.

31. State DOJ: Busts Reveal Unprecedented Cartel Presence in Oregon The Oregon Department of Justice confirmed the Mexican cartel presence in the state, and indicated that the presence was growing and overwhelming law enforcement efforts.

30. Mexican Cartel Kidnapped Man in US, Smuggled Across Border, Feared Dead Mexican cartel hitmen entered the U.S., kidnapped a man from the arms of his wife at his U.S. home by impersonating police, tortured him, then smuggled him from the U.S. into Mexico. They had the wrong person and the victim is now believed dead.

29. UN Warns: Mexican Border ‘Global Pathway’ to US for Illegals from Horn of Africa The United Nations warned that illegal immigrants were coming from the terror-prone Horn of Africa and crossing into the U.S. illegally by following the same paths Mexican nationals follow across the porous U.S./Mexico border.

28. Mexican Cartels Recruiting Assassins Among US Teens, Prison Gangs, Military Mexican cartels began coming to the U.S. to recruit assassins among American teens, prison gangs, and the U.S. military.

27. Illegal Convicted of Child Porn Might Not Be Deported Due to Immigration Reform An illegal immigrant ws incarcerated for downloading and viewing images of children engaged in sexual acts.

26. Source: Illegal Aliens from Mexico Increasing Assaults on Border Patrol Agents The number and frequency of illegal immigrants increased greatly since 2011.

25. Mexican Smuggler’s Wild Ride: Dragged Passenger, Rammed Border Patrol, Crashed in Ditch An illegal immigrant who has previous convictions for smuggling immigrants in the U.S., was seen loading illegal immigrants into the bed of a truck near the U.S./Mexico border in Laredo, Texas. The man attempted to escape by ramming the U.S. Border Patrol.

24. Female US National Park Ranger Attacked Near Mexican Border U.S. Park Ranger Karen Gonzales was found in a public restroom, unconscious and with a serious head injury. She had allegedly been beaten in the head by an illegal immigrant.

23. Chain-Link Fence Only Border Barrier at Site of Brutal Beating of FBI Agents Several illegal immigrants came into the U.S. and severely beat and maimed two FBI agents, one a woman. They fled back to Mexico and most were never prosecuted.

22. US Attorney’s Office Admits to Incorrectly Identifying Charges Against Illegal Alien A Mexican national ran a large-scale methamphetamine trafficking and possessed an illegal firearm--all on U.S. soil.

21. Mexican National Sentenced for Running Drug Ring in Wisconsin A Mexican national will serve 20 years in U.S. prison for conspiring to possess cocaine with the intent to distribute and for distribution of cocaine.

20. Previously Deported Illegal Alien Gets 20 Years on Meth, Gun Charges A Mexican national was sentenced for his part in an operation to distribute a large amount of methamphetamine and four other crimes: being a felon in possession of eight firearms, being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm, possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and illegal entry into the U.S. after having been previously deported.

19. DEA: Cartels Expanding US Territory, Meth/Heroin Smuggling The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) stated that availability indicators reflected that the supply of Mexican methamphetamine was increasing in the United States. Price and purity data and increased methamphetamine flow across the Southwest Border indicated rising domestic availability, most of which is the result of high levels of methamphetamine production in Mexico by cartels.

18. Illegal Aliens Charged with Attacking Border Patrol Agent Two suspects, a Mexican national and the other an Ecuadoran national, allegedly attacked a U.S. Border Patrol agent. The Mexican national is also charged for allegedly illegally transporting migrants for personal financial gain.

17. Drug Trafficking Ring Operating Outside of Arizona Busted A man from Mexico came to the U.S. and was sentenced to 360 months in U.S. prison for his role in leading a cocaine trafficking organization across the U.S.

16. FBI Wiretap Disrupts Kidnap, Torture Plot by Mexican Cartel At least one of the three Mexican cartel members who entered the U.S. did so illegally in their plan to kidnap U.S. drug dealers, bring them back to Mexico, torture them, and then dissolve the victims' corpses in acid.

15. Corpse of Mexican National Found in US Near Border The corpse of a Mexican national illegally in the U.S. was found and had been severely tortured--a mark of Mexican drug cartels.

14. Illegal Alien Sex Offender to be Sent Home After Latest Illegal Entry An illegal immigrant from Mexico continuously re-entered the U.S. and later sexually assaulted a woman in Houston, Texas.

13. Crowd of 100 Illegal Aliens Attack US Border Patrol, Mexican Authorities Let Them Go A violent group of illegal immigrants attacked U.S. Border Patrol agents, crossed back into Mexico, and were allowed to walk free by Mexican Authorities.

12. Illegal Alien MS-13 Member Gets Life for US Murder Rampage An MS-13 leader (Sitios Locos Salvatruchas clique of La Mara Salvatrucha), was sentence to life in prison after his March 21, 2013 convictions for racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, murder, assault with dangerous weapons, and related firearms and conspiracy offenses--on U.S. soil.

11. 100% Increase in Previously-Deported Sex Offenders Returning from Mexico One sector of the U.S./Mexico border has seen a 100% increase in the number of illegal immigrants, previously deported for criminal sexual offenses, apprehended while attempting to illegally re-enter the United States.

10. Another Mexican National Sentenced for Murdering Border Patrol Agent An illegal immigrant who was on supervised release for smuggling human beings into the U.S. from Mexico helped lure, trap, and murder a U.S. Border Patrol agent on U.S. soil in an effort to steal night-vision goggles.

9. Graphic Images Justify Border Patrol’s Use of Deadly Force Against Rock Attacks Illegal aliens routinely cross into the U.S. from Mexico and assault U.S. Border Patrol agents with rocks and boulders.

8. Border Patrol Agent Attacked and Almost Shot by Illegal Immigrant An illegal immigrant punched a U.S. Border Patrol agent all over his body and repeatedly choked him. During the altercation, the agent's service pistol accidentally fired into the air twice.

7. Two Mexican Nationals Arrested for Running Alleged Stash House on TX Border – An alleged 90 illegal immigrants passed through a residence in one month. The home was operated by two Mexican nationals who were illegally in the U.S.

6. Texas: 50 Illegal Immigrant Convicted Criminals Arrested in Three Days Nine of the captured aliens had previously been deported from the United States. One of the illegal immigrants was a Mexican national arrested in San Antonio who was previously convicted of sex crimes involving a child.

5. Human Smuggler Jailed for Raping Illegal Immigrant An illegal immigrant from Guatemala was arrested and accused of raping a woman before and after they illegally crossed the U.S./Mexico border.

4. 27 Illegal Aliens Convicted on Child Sex Crimes Arrested Near Border The majority of the illegal immigrants arrested in this instance had committed sexual crimes and assaults against children. Various charges against the individuals included felony child sexual contact, lewd acts with a child, sexual exploitation of a child, and sexual assault of a child.”

3. Previously-Deported Illegal Alien Convicted of Child Human Trafficking An illegal immigrant operated a stash house in Houston, Texas containing two children and 24 others. The victims were held hostage in the underwear, occupying locked rooms with boards over the windows. Authorities described the living conditions in the home as ‘deplorable’."

2. Illegal Immigrant Allegedly Tried to Kill Texas Border Agent An illegal immigrant fought with a U.S. Border Patrol agent and allegedly attempted to take the agent's gun and kill him. The illegal immigrant allegedly attempted to choke the agent as well.

1. Mexican Cartel Assassin Confirmed 11 Kills on US Soil, Confessed to More Jose Manuel Martinez, a Mexican cartel assassin, had at least 11 confirmed kills. He is originally from Mexico but obtained legal status in the U.S.

Bluto

Damn reben , Your comment is almost longer then the article . I would read it but " Ain't Nobody Got Time For That " ; )))))

deertracker

LOL!

dontknowmuch

So you're saying its fine to welcome the lawbreakers with open arms. Typical Demmy response.

Bottom Line

Typical liberal logic. Conservatives don't support ILLEGALS who are helping to destroy this country and we're "intolerant." Of course.

Stop it is exactly right.

JudgeMeNot

Like.

bucknut36

In 1986 Pres. Reagan signed an immigration reform bill that granted amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. The program was meant to benefit employers looking for cheaper labor.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

What's interesting in your point is that above when they threaten to take their votes elsewhere...where will they take them? Even after amnesty Reagan nor any Republican after ever got a majority of that demographic to vote for them. I would suspect, if history is any indication, that no matter what happens the percentages for one party or the other will stay the same.

That's another issue one can muse or grumble over, but it is an interesting place to start looking at just what happens when laws along these lines are passed. Nothing seems to change at all.

KnuckleDragger

@Bucknut. To quote an often used Democrat phrase, "Quit living in the past." The situation is different today than in 1986.

The Big Dog's back

Reagan's amnesty was for the employers benefit for cheap labor.

There you go again

We have the Feds going after Americans trying to make a living (ie. Bundy) and turning their back to immigrants jumping our borders. Can't we just enforce all of our laws and not just the ones Obama wants to? Thanks a lot Government

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

These are reasons we need term limits in Congress. It will be interesting to see what this rancher's story uncovers as there seem to be Reid-related fingerprints on land-grabs for sweetheart deals (one such was with a Chinese solar company I believe). How does he make his millions and live at the Ritz after all? Hmmm...

Bluto

Infowars is probably not the best source to be using , but I guess if you're Fox News you'll take that hook line and sinker . Hee hee .

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Is there anything in the infowars article (which laden with other references all tying together) that you disagree with or seems unreasonable?

Here's a few other sources and interesting articles:
"The Desert Tortoise, Harry Reid: Why the BLM wants Cliven Bundy's Ranch"
http://www.commdiginews.com/poli...

Now it's interesting to note that the desert tortoise is not an endangered species and in fact many are being euthanized by the government.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/20...

So nearby the Bundy grazing area we have a claim by the BLM that it is a protected area for a species that isn't endangered. Meanwhile we have a former Reid staffer who was put in charge of the BLM now making a grab for this land all while just miles away is one solar farm and I believe the groundbreaking of another. Both of these apparently don't impact the land any worse than grazing cattle? Funny how some projects are treated differently than others, especially when a certain Senator who's been in power for 30 years spearheads efforts and went to be a millionaire for his service in the Senate and whose family members often seem to also prosper under his rule.

While I respect your skepticism, I honestly think there is a lot more to this than is apparent. Why does the Federal government own 87% of the land in Nevada? Why were all the other ranchers bought out leaving Bundy to be the only one? I don't think it has to do with turtles as much as that is the claimed reason. How does this align with political interests that have been in power since the early '90s when this began?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/bl...

I honestly hate to say this, but I think we are reaching a boiling point in our country. Many of those in charge, I don't believe, are appreciative of the civil society which has thus far not broken into the same reactions we have witnessed in other countries around the world. But for how long? How long can we be told by people that "the conversation is over", that we must pass laws to see what's in them, that we will forever be stirred and distracted into a fervor by disingenuous numbers or the lack of questions offered whenever they even are?

Just in time to celebrate the recent lunar eclipse, I'll offer: http://youtu.be/4YlTUDnsWMo

The Big Dog's back

Dude, it's not his land. He stole it from you and me. If this was some Liberal, commie, pinko, you would want him tarred and feathered.

Donegan

The Dude stole your land Dog. Better go out there and sit in the desert to make it doesn't happen again. Please go hurry hurry.

Bluto

Bundy = tax evader , who doesn't recognize America . Militiamen , whom he surrounded himself with = bunch of pu$$ies who use women and children as shields .

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