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Immigrant groups say deportations up under Obama

Immigration rights activists said Monday that deportations have jumped nearly 50 percent under President Barack Obama despite a pledge by the president for a more compassionate immigration policy.

Immigration activist Elvira Arellano, who was deported from the US, holds a sign during a demonstration against US President Barack Obama in front of the US Embassy in Mexico City, on January 20th. Immigration rights activists said Monday that deportations have jumped nearly 50 percent under President Barack Obama despite a pledge by the president for a more compassionate immigration policy.

A total of 387,790 people were deported from the United States in 2009, up from 264,503 under the administration of President George W. Bush, according to government figures cited by the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, a coalition of several organizations.

"We are asking President Obama for an immediate halt to deportations and to show leadership to advance immigration reform," said Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.

"This is not sound economic policy or moral policy, this is not leadership nor change we can believe in," said Pramila Jayapal, executive director of One America, one of the groups participating.

"We expect more, we expect the president to order the administration to stop the deportations and demonstrate leadership on passing immigration reform."

The groups at Monday's news conference plan a march on March 21 in Washington to revive efforts for immigration reform.