Immigration advocates called on President Obama on Monday to suspend deportations of undocumented workers who would qualify for legal status under a comprehensive immigration bill being debate in the Senate.
With an estimated 1,100 illegal immigrants per day being deported from the United States, the advocates said Obama has a moral obligation to stop breaking up families when lawmakers are considering legislation that would allow most of the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants to apply for legal status.
“The president is not and cannot be a bystander in the process,” said Pablo Alvarado, executive director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. “This is the moment for him to intervene.”
The advocates have been frustrated with the high levels of deportations during Obama’s presidency — more than 410,000 undocumented workers were deported last year, an all-time high. Obama declined a similar requestto stop deportations in February during a meeting at the White House with Latino, Asian-American, African-American and labor leaders.
At that time, the president emphasized that he is focused on “getting reformed passed, and not easing up on enforcement,” the advocates said. Republicans, and some Democrats, would like raise concerns if the administration were to ease up on deportations during the debate over comprehensive reform, the president told them.