UPDATE, 1:35 pm ET: The activists arrested today have been released. Here is their video message.
Yesterday, President Obama gave an interview with Telemundo News and addressed immigration reform. According to The Washington Post, “President Obama on Tuesday ruled out using his executive authority to freeze deportations for most of the 11 million immigrants in the country illegally, saying such a move would violate federal law.”
The article added the following:
With a comprehensive immigration overhaul stalled on Capitol Hill, advocates have called on the president to move forward without congressional approval to halt the deportations, estimated at more than 1,000 per day.
But Obama said such a move is “not an option.” During an interview at the White House with Telemundo, the Spanish-language television network, Obama defended his decision last summer to defer the deportations of hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the country illegally by their parents as children. The legal rationale in that case, he said, was to allow federal agencies to devote more time and resources to high-priority immigration cases such as those involving people with multiple criminal convictions.
Here is a portion of the interview:
Such a response has also led to today’s action in front of The White House, where undocumented immigrants chained themselves to the residence’s fence.
— Chris Newman (@newman_chris) September 18, 2013
Here is what Colorlines reported:
This morning, seven undocumented immigrant leaders—some of them already in deportation proceedings—handcuffed themselves to the White House gate in protest of Obama’s record deportations, which they say are tearing communities apart. The seven, who are active leaders in their communities across the nation, were arrested and taken into custody by Federal Park Police about a half hour after they started the action, as supporters screamed in solidarity a few yards away.
Narciso Valenzuela Siriaco, who identifies as Yaqui and lives in Tucson, participated in today’s action. He’s currently fighting deportation after spending time at Eloy Detention Center following a stop at a Border Patrol checkpoint in Arizona. “I don’t want there to be more deportations,” he said. “Our children suffer.”
Meanwhile, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) released the following statement today:
09.17.2013 – Los Angeles, CA. In response to the President’s comments in an interview with Telemundo where he says that he cannot further expand deferred action to suspend deportations, Pablo Alvarado, executive director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network issued the following statement:
“The President’s statement is factually inaccurate. He has the power to reduce deportations, the legal authority to expand deferred action, and the political obligation to lead the national debate through bold action. In fact, courageous leadership will only galvanize momentum for reform and focus Congress’s attention on their constitutional duty to modernize immigration law.
The demand for the President to stop deportations is only growing louder, and our community will not take ‘no’ for an answer.
Unless the President alters course, he risks cementing his legacy as having presided over the most anti-immigrant administration in history. History books will blame the President and not congress for a hypocritical and shameful period of immigrant expulsion. For too long, President Obama has empowered the most most repugnant voices from the Republican party to mask his own policies of attrition as the lesser of two evils.
While the President seems to content to seek political advantage in the worsening status quo, those whose lives hang in the balance will not accept inaction. Oppressed people have always won inclusion and legalization through determination, courage, and sacrifice. Across the country, immigrant communities are refusing to be expelled from the country they call home, and they are asserting their right to remain. In the process, they are defending bedrock constitutional rights and cherished national values, and they’re inspiring others to join their cause.
We continue to invite the President to be the champion he promised to be.”
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