Video: President Obama Denies Ability to Stop Deportations of DREAMers
This week President Obama addressed students and parents in a special town hall hosted by Univision to discuss Latinos in education. The town hall served as a way for the president to discuss how his administration aims to improve the educational achievement of Latino’s who are now the nation’s largest and fastest growing minority group, according to the most recent Census figures.
We watched as moderator and popular Univision news anchor Jorge Ramos, and DREAMer Karen Maldonado (appearing via satellite) pressed the president and his administration on the continued deportations of immigrant youth in higher education:
Unfortunately, rather than providing a sufficient response to these questions, the President used the segment mostly to reiterate his support for the DREAM Act. He ended by stressing the importance of continued engagement with legislators (perhaps forgetting the fact that youth have been arrested while in the process of doing just that) and by saying: “With respect to the notion that I can suspend deportations through Executive Order, that’s just not the case,” the President said. “That does mot mean that we can’t make decisions to emphasize enforcement on those who have engaged in criminal activity.”
This response is simply not sufficient to explain the actions of an administration that has outpaced former president Bush’s deportation rate in 2010. Emphasizing enforcement on those who commit violent crimes doesn’t explain why folks like Nallely of Arizona, Manolo of Tennessee, and many other law-abiding young people like them are on the verge of being separated from their friends and families.
Through our close work with young immigration activists, Campus Progress has become acutely aware of the perilous political realities they face. Many of the young people who were engaged in the national fight for the DREAM Act last year are now furiously organizing against anti-immigrant legislation at the state and local levels. These young people need relief, and with serious political gridlock in Washington over immigration issues, we need our leaders to do better. These young people who want nothing more than to give back to the only country they call home. Enough is enough. It’s time to stop deporting them.