Obama Gets Heckled While Defending Immigration Delay
President Barack Obama was attempting to reenergize and reassure Hispanics on Thursday who are angry, disenchanted as well as frustrated following his decision to put a delay on his executive actions regarding deportations that could protects millions from being deported from the United States.
Some of the frustration boiled over during a speech Obama gave at a gala for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. Blanca Hernandez an undocumented activist interrupted Obama’s speech when she yelled for the president to stop the deportation. The woman interrupted the president on two occasions, saying, “We need relief.” Security then escorted Hernandez from the building.
Obama knew by attending the gala he was entering a crowd that, while they are friendly, they were wary of his many promises.
Obama pushed his plans back for carrying out executive action on the deportations from a previous deadline of the end of summer until following the midterm elections in November.
Some have called the delay an act of craven politics that is allowing thousands each week to be deported.
Obama said he understood their frustration.
Obama said he would not give up the immigration fight until it was over. He added that his executive action would come between the election and the end of 2014, but did not give any hints as to what would be done He said it was not a question of if it happens, but rather when.
The conference’s timing was awkward given the delay by Obama in taking the executive action. Others who gave speeches, such as Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey talked when introducing the president about Obama’s need to take the action as quickly as possible.
Outside the gala, activists held protests demanding deportations to be stopped. Obama also faced protesters earlier on Thursday outside an Evanston, Illinois speech.
Hispanic voters, of which a majority supports immigration reform, were critical in Obama winning 2012 reelection by voting in large numbers for him.
However, since then his approval rating amongst Hispanics has significantly dropped although it is still over 50%.
Some immigration advocates warned that by breaking his promise of the executive action, Obama was hurting the efforts of getting Hispanic voters to this year’s polls in November.