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Obama Pivots Towards Immigration Reform

Some activists complain president not doing enough to end deportations


NewLettersAfter the public drubbing President Barack Obama has been dealt over the disastrous roll-out, it only makes sense that the president would try to move away from the increasingly unpopular Affordable Care Act. His attempt to shift the debate from health care to immigration reform, however, hasn’t been smooth sailing.

In a speech today given at a recreation center serving a large number of Chinese-Americans in San Francisco, Obama argued once again for comprehensive immigration reform. However, his pitch was interrupted by protestors who said the president hadn’t done enough to stop deportations of undocumented immigrants.

One protestor, a 24-year-old student at San Francisco State University named Ju Hong, said Obama’s policies made it impossible for him to see his family overseas.

“You have the power to stop deportation,” he said, as other protestors chanted “stop deportation.”

Obama countered suggestions he do so via executive order, saying, “[T]hat’s not how it works. We’ve got this Constitution, we’ve got this whole thing about separation of powers and branches.”

At the same time, he argued that Republicans shouldered much of the blame for the slow progress of immigration reform, claiming they were unwilling to “catch up with the rest of the country.”

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, recently said that there would be no vote on comprehensive immigration reform in 2013. Republican leaders have indicated they will take up votes on some individual immigration measures, but not a full slate of reforms.

The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.

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