Monday, April 15, 2024

In Miami town hall, Obama defends immigration policies, puts pressure on GOP

Obama Miami

President Obama on Wednesday criticized Republicans for “trying to hold hostage” the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding in a political fight to block his executive actions on immigration, and further challenged GOP lawmakers to pass a bill declaring said executive actions illegal, just so that he could veto it. With DHS funding set to expire tomorrow, he put the ball in the Republican leadership’s court.

“If McConnell, the leader of the Senate and the Speaker of the House John Boehner want to have a vote on whether what I’m doing is legal or not, they can have that vote. I will veto that vote,” the President said, to a large applause from the students, activists, immigrants and advocates comprising the crowd. His comments fired up the attendees as he urged young people to vote, declaring an Asian-American or a Latino-American would one day be in the White House.

He repeatedly pressed his young audience to put the pressure on Republican leadership, reminding the attendees that his executive actions only provide a short term solution, and that they should be asking 2016 presidential candidates if they “really intend to deport 11 million people.” The overall message, however – amid a sea of immigration posturing and understated mudslinging – was that participation is key for sustainable change to wholly manifest.

“I’m willing to bet that there are young people who have family members who are at risk of the existing immigration system who did not vote,” he began. “So my question – not just to the immigrant community, but the country as a whole – is why are you staying at home? Why are you not participating?” he asked.

If the President’s message resonates with the Latino community, the proof will be in the polls, where our vote will be a critical deciding factor in the outcome of the 2016 presidential race.

NBC News Latino