As President Barack Obama pushes Congress to pass immigration reform, there are some who believe he isn’t pushing hard or fast enough for solutions. According to Talking Points Memo, he encountered such a person yesterday in San Francisco.
President Barack Obama was interrupted by a pro-immigration reform activist on Monday while pushing for a comprehensive solution to the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants in California.
While speaking at the Betty Ong Recreation Center in San Francisco’s Chinatown, Obama rebutted a heckler who shouted that the president could stop all deportations by merely signing an executive order.
“You have a power to stop all deportations,” the heckler said.
“Actually, I don’t,” Obama responded. “The easy way out is to try to yell and pretend like I can do something by violating our laws. If in fact I could solve all these problems without passing laws in Congress, I would do so.”
Earlier in the address, Obama noted that while House Republicans remained opposed to comprehensive reform, he had hope Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) would eventually move on the issue.
“I believe the Speaker is sincere,” he said. “I think he genuinely wants to get it done.”
In other remarks at the event, the president described the immigration reform solution he hopes Congress will move on:
This year, the Senate passed an immigration reform bill by a wide, bipartisan majority, and it addresses the key issues that need to be addressed. It would strengthen our borders. It would level the playing field by holding employers accountable if they knowingly hire undocumented workers. It would modernize our legal immigration system so that we eliminate the backlog of family visas and make it easier to attract highly skilled entrepreneurs from beyond our borders. It would make sure that everybody plays by the same rules by providing a pathway to earned citizenship for those who are living in the shadows –- a path that includes passing a background check, and learning English, and paying taxes and a penalty, and getting in line behind everyone trying to come here the right way.
Many callers to NewsOne Now with Roland Martinon Tuesdayvoiced concerns that undocumented workers take jobs away from African Americans because they are willing to work for very low wages. However, one caller disagreed. “Big businesses have always had this love affair with cheap labor since the inception of this country… Now when these workers, if they become legal and they become unionized, and at work their wages start going up, we’ll see an influx of newer immigrants who will take the cheap jobs. It’s not about [immigrants] taking jobs Americans don’t want. Americans just don’t want to give up the money to pay other Americans a decent living wage, and that’s the bottom line.”
Hear more of what he had to say in the clip below.