*President Barack Obama was heckled Monday by an immigration reform activist who argued that the president has the power to pause all deportations, a notion he challenged as he made the case for the need for congressional action.
“I need your help,” a young man shouted, as he called for the president to halt the deportations of some of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country. “You have a power to stop deportations for all,” he added.
“Actually, I don’t, and that’s why we’re here,” the president responded as the heckler and several others continued shouting, breaking out into a chant of “stop deportations!”
As security guards moved to pull the protesters out of the room, Obama said those challenging him could stay.
“I respect the passion of these young people because they feel deeply about the concerns of their families,” he said, pivoting to a tougher stance.
“Now, what you need to know, when I’m speaking as president of the United States, and I come to this community, is that, in fact, if I could solve all these problems without passing laws in Congress, then I would do so,” Obama said. “But we’re also a nation of laws. That’s part of our tradition. And so the easy way out is to try to yell and pretend like I can do something by violating our laws.”
“What I’m proposing is the harder path, which is to use our democratic processes to achieve the same goal that you want to achieve, but it won’t be as easy as just shouting,” he continued. “It requires us lobbying and getting it done.”
“So for those of you who are committed to getting this done, I am going to march with you and fight with you every step of the way,” he said as he closed out his speech. “It is going to require work, it is not simply a matter of us just saying we’re gonna violate the law. That’s not our tradition.”