We’re just sure Team Obama had nothing to do with any of this lawlessness.
Scores of young immigrants stormed Capitol Hill on Friday to press leaders in both parties to rein in deportations for the sake of their families.
The activists – most of them undocumented immigrants who have enrolled in President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program – are fighting GOP efforts to scrap that initiative while simultaneously pressing Democrats to fight harder for its immediate expansion.
Toward that end, the advocates – many sporting bright blue t-shirts emblazoned with the message “OBAMA DEPORTS PARENTS” – singled out three lawmakers on Friday: House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio); House Oversight Chairman Darrel Issa (R-Calif.); and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), who heads the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
Obama deports parents? Could have fooled us.
Their decision to target both parties highlights that advocates are increasingly resigned to the notion that reform legislation is dead this year, and are shifting their focus instead to DACA – both the GOP’s efforts to dismantle it and Obama’s decision to delay any expansion of it until August.
Issa this week churned headlines with a letter calling for the end of DACA, which he blames for growing the wave of child migrants at the border; Boehner announced a coming lawsuit against Obama for alleged executive overreach – which advocates see as a direct threat to DACA; and Democratic leaders, including Wasserman Schultz, continue to back Obama’s delay in unilateral action in hopes that Republicans will act on an immigration bill in July.
That delay – and the Democrats’ defense of it – isn’t sitting well with the reform advocates, who don’t think the Republicans will consider the issue before November’s elections and want Obama to step in immediately for the sake of keeping families together.
“We will continue to fight until President Obama comes out and expands deferred action and stops the deportations,” said Ray Jose, 23, a DACA enrollee who came to the United States from the Philippines as a child. “We cannot wait.”
Echoing that message, Leslie Alvarado, 23, a linguistics major at the University of New Mexico and a DACA beneficiary, said she traveled to Washington this week on behalf of her mother.
“I’m tired of her working a job that doesn’t respect her, that doesn’t give her days off,” Alvarado said.
They brought that message to Wasserman Schultz’s office on Friday, where roughly 30 activists met with several of her staff to ask that Democrats increase the pressure on Obama to expedite his timeline on possible executive action to stem deportations.
Spokesman Sean Bartlett said afterwards that the Florida Democrat is sympathetic to their concerns, but is still holding out hope that Republicans will act on legislation next month. He noted that Wasserman Schultz backed a recent proposal, sponsored by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), to prevent the parents of children born in the United States from being deported.
“The onus is on Speaker Boehner to bring comprehensive immigration reform to the House without delay,” Bartlett said in an email. “The Senate has passed it, the American people want it, and there are enough votes in the House to get it done.”
The American people want it? Really?