EXCLUSIVE: Ahead of Protests, President Obama Talks to Latina about Immigration

With a “National Day of Action” set for tomorrow to protest President Obama’s decision to involve local police officers in immigration enforcement, Latina asked the President last week to clarify his position on immigration as part of a wide-ranging interview that will appear in the magazine’s November issue.
“We want to send the message that we have to enforce the law,” said President Obama, who has been blasted by Latino groups for overseeing the deportation of a record number of undocumented immigrants during his time in office. But the President maintained that his Administration remains focused on “targeting criminals” when it comes to upholding immigration law. “We are emphasizing our limited resources on those cases where people really do need to get deported,” he said, “as well as making sure we are securing our borders, all of which can help create the framework for us to have the kind of comprehensive immigration reform laws that I think are so important.”

When asked specifically about why he has not used his office to stop the deportation of DREAM Act-eligible students, the President responded, “Well, the truth of the matter is that we have exercised as much administrative discretion as we can.”
President Obama did restate that he is “a huge supporter” of passing the DREAM Act, noting that the students who would be impacted “are going about their business and doing the right thing, and in many cases haven’t done anything wrong—other than the fact that their parents brought them here without legal documentation.” 

The President emphasized that he is “going to keep pushing to get the DREAM Act passed,” explaining that “these kids are extraordinarily talented and want to contribute to helping to build America. [They shouldn’t be] under a cloud as they are going to school, serving in the military or starting a business.”