A young, undocumented immigrant, who is also a graduate student from South Korea, directly called out to President Obama at a speech the Commander-in-Chief was giving at the Betty Ann Ong Chinese Recreation Center in San Francisco on Monday.
The student, standing behind Obama, said, “Our families are separated. I need your help! You have a power to stop deportation for all undocumented immigrants in this country.”
President Obama refused security’s attempt to remove the man, directly responding, “Actually, I don’t. And that’s why we’re here.”
The president continued, addressing the man’s question of Obama’s authority when it comes to the deportation of illegal aliens in the U.S.
“Now, what you need to know, when I’m speaking as president of the United States and I come to this community, is that if, in fact, I could solve all these problems without passing laws in Congress, then I would do so,” Obama said. “But we’re also a nation of laws. That’s part of our tradition. And so the easy way out is to try to yell and pretend like I can do something by violating our laws. And what I’m proposing is the harder path, which is to use our democratic processes to achieve the same goal that you want to achieve. But it won’t be as easy as just shouting. It requires us lobbying and getting it done.”
The president’s anti-deportation activists have made clear that they believe the Obama administration has contributed to the removal of many immigrants – and they’re correct. This administration has ordered and seen-out the deportation of over 2 million illegals in America.
Frank Sherry, founder of America’s Voice, says, “I think he overstates the case that he doesn’t have the authority. He may not have authority to give people a path to citizenship…but does he have the authority to have DHS implement his priorities and reflect his values? Yes, and that’s not happening.”
Obama has been known to twist the law for his own personal gain, without first clearing it with Congress, such as the steps he took to implement his own Affordable Care Act.
Other supporters of immigration reform believe that Obama has more pull than he is using, as well. They say that the president at least has the power to intervene and postpone actions in the judicial system being taken to remove the illegals. Now, younger immigrants are protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which was enacted by the Department of Homeland Security last year.
Main image courtesy CNN via YouTube.