Immigration

Fox hosts outraged that Texas 911 operators are ‘forced’ to help dying non-English speakers

 

Fox News host Steve Doocy | screenshot

Steve Doocy’s hatred of the “other” is clearly demonstrated in his facial expression here.  The problem with the above picture is that the expression appears to be permanent, not unlike an old episode of The Twilight Zone entitled: The Masks.

The Raw Story

The hosts of Fox & Friends on Wednesday were shocked to learn that emergency responders were “forced” to serve non-English speakers in life-threatening situations even if the callers were suspected of entering the country illegally.

“They stumbled across the border illegally and now they need your help!” Fox News host Steve Doocy complained, pointing to a 911 call in Brooks County, Texas where a man who could only speak Spanish asked for a helicopter rescue because his cousin was “turning purple.”

“A small Texas town forced to answer 911 from stranded illegals in Spanish!” Doocy exclaimed.

“Not only are they understaffed and lacking resources, now they’ve got to deal with illegal immigrants who have no business being here,” co-host Brian Kilmeade opined.

Brooks County Chief Deputy Urbino “Benny” Martinez pointed out to Kilmeade that his department had a duty to respond to all 911 calls.

“So, those calls you have to respond to, even though for the most part when you get there, you realize, they’re not an American citizen?” the Fox News host pressed.

“That’s correct, but they’re on U.S. soil, and due process comes into play, and that’s the way we’re taking them as,” Martinez explained.

The chief deputy added that he wanted Republicans and Democrats to drop partisan ideology and have a “sincere dialog” because his department was running out of funds.

Earlier this week, sheriffs of Texas border counties said that Gov. Rick Perry (R) was wasting money on a “political” stunt by sending 1,000 National Guard troops to the border.

Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio told the Dallas Morning News that the state should be spending money to fund police officers who were empowered to respond to the border crisis.

Watch the video below from Fox News’ Fox & Friends, broadcast July 23, 2014.

 

KS:  I always think of the text that appears on the Statue of Liberty.  In part it reads…

 
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Emma Lazarus 

Immigration, charity, and conservatives’ unholy assault on Glenn Beck

His supporters are pushing back.

His supporters are pushing back. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The Week

When Glenn Beck announced he would deliver food and toys to immigrant children, the attacks were blistering — and profoundly unchristian

For a movement that wants to eliminate welfare on the grounds it crowds out charity, the rightmost edge of conservatism has been remarkably uncharitable throughout the current immigration crisis. It is almost like they detest charity itself.

Earlier this month, Glenn Beck announced his intention to deliver food, toys, and other supplies to the undocumented immigrants detained in McAllen, Texas. His reasoning was fairly straightforward: Since the immigrants, who are generally children, currently awaiting processing have escaped corruption and violence and political unrest, there is a moral imperative to extend to them welcome and aid. Beck never advocated any form of amnesty, nor did he propose any particular policy (aside from registering his anger with the Obama administration’s response). He felt morally obligated to intervene on humanitarian grounds, and asked his audience’s help in raising funds to do so.

Beck’s impulse was a good one, and his reasoning was equally sound from an ethical standpoint. There are always moral hazards in our interactions with others, including in charitable acts. But that doesn’t mean a turn-the-other-cheek mentality isn’t warranted.

Yet Beck’s audience did the opposite. In response to his charitable campaign, Beck’s listenersevidently flooded him with threats made against his life and work. Other conservative pundits made hay of the backlash against Beck, including Bill O’Reilly, who aired a complaint from one of his viewers excoriating Beck on The O’Reilly Factor. “I am appalled by Glenn Beck’s visit to the border,” the viewer complained. “Wait until poor people in Central America hear that he is giving them millions of dollars. They’ll flow in here like water.”

So much for the Christian mission of mercy and tenderness. For Beck’s enraged audience, any act of kindness, no matter how small — the immigrants would have eaten whether or not Beck served the food, and ‘millions of dollars’ were never on offer — was too great a risk.

In fact, it appears the far right opinion generators currently trying to manipulate the outcome of the crisis cannot even muster a charitable way of thinking about the children currently sleeping under Red Cross blankets in crowded rooms near the Texan border. As Fare Forward‘s Laura Marshall points out, there’s a powerful Christian significance to offering others charity, a willingness to understand them and their life circumstances in the least cynical, least hateful terms possible. The opposite of this approach involves the decision to imagine others in the worst terms, to construe all of their characteristics and behavior in the most negative, obscene ways one can muster.

It’s this latter abuse that far right media jockeys have mounted in full against the child refugees gathering at the border. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) has made preposterous claims about the ebola virus being endemic among the refugee population; there is no evidence to support this, though history illustrates that claims of poor hygiene and filthiness are typical of one group’s demonization of another. With the terms of moral hygiene established, it’s easy to imagine refugees and other vulnerable populations as contagion. A less callous approach would display genuine concern for the health of the immigrants themselves.

Lastly, consider the EPIC (El Paso Intelligence Center) report peddled by Breitbart. While the conservative site leapt at the chance to use the 10-page document as definitive proof that the kids at the border are nothing but opportunists looking to leech off of the American way of life, they ignored the facts within. Even EPIC admits that 65 percent of the immigrants have identified some form of violence as significant in their decision to leave their home nations. That basically makes them refugees.

Nonetheless, the report has been twisted by places like Breitbart to show that the kids are here because they think they can stay and freeload. The fact that push factors and pull factors figure into the complex and difficult decision to leave home has been uncharitably shucked aside for a simple narrative: don’t listen to the media, these kids aren’t afraid of violence at all; they just came here because they think we’ll let them stay!

In other words, no matter the evidence presented or the strength of moral reasoning, charity itself — even private, voluntary charity — has been routinely dismissed, derided, and mocked by powerful voices on the far right. When the next opportunity for a genuine outpouring of charity arises, what should we expect? If a crisis involving unaccompanied children isn’t enough to elicit a charitable impulse, nothing will ever be.

A View From The Border: Signs From A Surprising Rally In Texas

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CREDIT: JACK JENKINS

Think Progress

MCALLEN, TX — At least 60 advocates braved sauna-like conditions near the Texas border on Saturday to rally across the street from the McAllen Borer Patrol Station, showing their support for the influx of unaccompanied Latin American children being apprehended there.

About 57,000 children, mostly from Central America, have been detained this fiscal year by Border Patrol agents, many in Texas’s Rio Grand Valley towns, like McAllen. Studies show that — at least since 2009 — children have been leaving the Central American countries of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala in droves because of increasing violence and grinding poverty, taking dangerous journeys to the U.S. to seek refuge.

The rally, which was also an interfaith prayer vigil, was meant to counter hundreds of planned “anti-amnesty” protests across the country over the Obama administration’s handling of the surge. Only three people showed up nearby as part of the national anti-immigrant protests. They said they expected others to arrive, but also speculated they may have “gotten the wrong address.”

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CREDIT: JACK JENKINS

Attendees at the rally in support of the children brought messages of love, compassion, and sympathy for children for whom they feared a return to Latin America could mean certain death.

Here are the top ten signs that advocates brought to the rally:

1. Some alluded to the tragic maltreatment of minors crossing the border, such as incidentswhere Tea Party protestors have berated children as they are bused to processing centers.

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CREDIT: ESTHER Y. LEE AND JACK JENKINS

2. America: A nation of immigrants.

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CREDIT: ESTHER Y. LEE

3. A little Texas hospitality goes a long way, y’all.

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CREDIT: JACK JENKINS

4. “USA: Defined by how we treat immigrants.”

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CREDIT: ESTHER Y. LEE AND JACK JENKINS

5. One of the core reasons for the recent surge of child immigrants is the sharp uptick in gang violence in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Sending children back to broken communities in these countries puts them at great risk of injury, rape, and even death.

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CREDIT: ESTHER Y. LEE

6. Paddington Bear has something to say about immigration as well.

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CREDIT: ESTHER Y. LEE

7. The vigil included representatives from several religious traditions, including Catholics, Unitarians, Presbyterians, and Muslims. Faith groups have been at the forefront of efforts to offer relief to the unaccompanied minors, and Pope Francis recently called for the international community to work together to address the crisis. A regional atheist group was also present at the rally to express support for the kids.

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CREDIT: ESTHER Y. LEE

8. “Believe in the value and the dignity of each person = protect refugees.”

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CREDIT: ESTHER Y. LEE

9. The Helping Unaccompanied Minors and Alleviating National Emergency (HUMANE) Act, recently introduced by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), seeks to expedite the process of trying unaccompanied minors by making the federal government deport Central American children just as quickly as they already do with Mexican children. However, the act would deny many of these children the fair trial they deserve, and would probably only hurt those it claims to protect.

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CREDIT: JACK JENKINS

10. Some 2,000 people have died trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border over the past 10 years. That number could increase as more and more Central Americans flee horrific violence and poverty in their home countries.

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CREDIT: ESTHER Y. LEE

Linda Yanez, a former state judge, told ThinkProgress that these children should be given the right to plead their cases in front of an immigration judge, and that any proposed legislation would actually harm their ability to do so. “I’m not against the Border Patrol, they’re just doing their jobs,” Yanez said. “It’s about our policy lawmakers and about what they tell our Border Patrol to do. I’m here to support due process.”

“The fact that gangs and drug lords have the biggest influence is something we can’t ignore,” Yanez added. “It’s a life and death situation… It’s a Sophie choice. If these are my choices, I’m going to take the one that gives my child some chance at survival.”

Louie Gohmert: Obama won’t ‘defend women’ from ‘hundreds of thousands’ of immigrant rapists

Louie Gohmert (House Judiciary Committee/screen grab)

 

Politicians like “Crazy Louie” Gohmert play to the absolute fear, loathing and ignorance of their base.

The following is a prime example…

The Raw Story

Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert (R) asserted this week that the crisis of women and children refugees seeking protection inside U.S. borders was so serious that it put “our continued existence at risk.”

During a speech on the House floor on Tuesday, the Texas congressman renewed his called for border states to invoke their rights under the 10th Amendment, and to declare war against an “mass invasion” of refugees.

“Our continued existence is at risk with what’s going on at the southern border,” Gohmert explained, adding that the Obama administration’s Department of Homeland Security was complicit because it had “actually assisted the criminal conspiracy in achieving its illegal goals” by not enforcing the law.

According to the Tea Party-backed Republican, “criminal aliens” had committed 2,993 homicides in the past six years.

“And they’ve committed at least 7,695 sexual assaults,” he insisted. “You want to talk about a war on women? This administration will not defend the women of America from criminal aliens! By the thousands, and hundreds of thousands!”

“Well, we know thousands,” Gohmert opined. “And we know people are coming in by the hundreds of thousands illegally. And this administration wants to talk about other people having a war on women when they will not defend the women that are being sexually assaulted by illegally aliens in this country!”

Watch the video below via Breitbart, broadcast by C-SPAN on July 16, 2014.

8 Reasons Why Jose Antonio Vargas Won’t Be Deported

The Opportunity Agenda/Flickr

Mother Jones

On Tuesday morning, Jose Antonio Vargas, one of the most prominent and vocal undocumented immigrants in the United States, was detained at a Texas airportafter traveling there to report on the plight of unaccompanied minors crossing the border. The Border Patrol took him into custody when he showed them a Filipino passport and no other form of identification. This was one of the few times Vargas, who self-identifies as the “most privileged” undocumented immigrant in the US, has had that privilege seriously questioned. He was released on Tuesday evening and issued a statement through his nonprofit organization, Define American:

I’ve been released by Border Patrol. I want to thank everyone who stands by me and the undocumented immigrants of south Texas and across the country. Our daily lives are filled with fear in simple acts such as getting on an airplane to go home to our family.

Vargas reminds those watching his case that he is representative of so many more undocumented children. But there are also many reasons why his is a special case—and why he won’t be deported:

and why he won’t be deported:

  1. He’s a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and a celebrity.
  2. He’s been detained, and released, before:Two years ago, a year after he revealed his status as an undocumented Filipino immigrant, Vargas was driving through Minneapolis without a legal license while wearing headphones,according to MinnPost. Although the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office was signed up for a Bush administration initiative called Secure Communities that encourages local law enforcement to hold booked undocumented immigrants for ICE, Vargas was released after roughly five hours. It’s unclear how much information authorities had about Vargas’ citizenship, though MinnPost points out that it was unusual for police to haul him in, given that those suspected of driving without a license tend to be issued a citation on the scene.
  3. He’s dared the ICE to deport him, and it did nothing: As Vox points out, Vargas essentially surrendered to the feds in 2012 when he called ICE and “asked what the government wanted to do with him.” The agency declined to comment. Technically, they can come knocking anytime they want to deport him, and they have not done so.
  4. He’s not a priority: The Obama administration claims it prioritizes cases having to do with “national security, public safety, and border security,” including repeat offenders who have crossed the border after deportation, convicted criminals, and “recent border crossers.” Vargas doesn’t fit these descriptions, considering he’s been convicted of no crime and has lived in the United States since he was 12 years old.
  5. The courts are already backlogged: As MoJo‘s Stephanie Mencimer wrote earlier this week, immigration courts are drowning in cases, especially with the sudden influx of unaccompanied minors. There are currently 30 vacancies on the immigration bench, dozens more judges eligible for retirement, and a backlog of 375,503 cases—up 50,000 since 2013. A case like Vargas’ could’ve sat around for years before it was addressed.
  6. Prosecutorial discretion might have favored him anyway: Even if Vargas’ case were taken up by ICE, the government could have chosen at any time not to proceed. ICE can waive deportation in cases where a defendant has “positive priorities,” including status as a veteran, longtime US residency, a degree from a US college or university, or even just “ties to the United States,” including a “role in the community” or “work as a volunteer.” Vargas arrived as an undocumented minor and was unaware of his status until he was older. He’s been a journalist since he was 17. He’s a graduate of San Francisco State University. And now he’s the founder of nonprofit advocacy group Define American. Not only does he fit many of the positive criterion, he doesn’t fit into the clearly defined “negative” categories: He is not a clear threat to national security, a gang member, or a convicted criminal.
  7. He has a slew of lawyers, immigration groups, and public figures supporting him: Chris Rickerd, a policy council expert in the American Civil Liberties Union, says Vargas’ “equities are such that he should be allowed to continue his stay in the US.” Allegra McLeod, a law professor at Georgetown University, claimed that she thought “his long-standing ties to this country would make the claim that it would be a moral disaster for this country” if officials were forced to consider his deportation. Cristina Jimenez, a representative of the youth immigration group United We Dream, declared in a statement: “We stand in solidarity with Jose Antonio and demand for his immediate release, but we must remember that there are thousands of people along the border that live with this same fear every day.” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio alsoannounced his support for Vargas in a public statement Tuesday, describing him as an “exemplary man whose tireless work has helped raise awareness around the lives of millions of undocumented immigrants living on American soil” and encouraging authorities to use discretion when it came to his case.
  8. He’d be a giant headache when the government already has plenty. (See also No. 1.) We’ll just have to see if the outcry over Vargas’  release would be any less of a headache for the Obama administration than his deportation might have been.

Only President Obama Can Help Undocumented Immigrants Now, Advocates Say

AP Photo|

Buzz Feed

Obama “should go big.”

Stunned by the loss of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, advocates for immigration reform said Tuesday night that the only remaining hope for bringing legal status to undocumented people in America lies through executive action by President Barack Obama.

“Everyone was betting on the primaries for the tea party to die out, with this win, a majority leader hadn’t lost since 1899, this is big going to rile up the Steve Kings, the Mel Brooks of Alabama, going to scare a lot of members,” said Cesar Vargas, an activist who is himself a “DREAMer,” having come to the United States without papers as a child. “Before we heard the votes are not there yet, now they’re gone.”

“Absolutely [Cantor’s defeat] means the president should go big on administrative action,” Vargas said.

The calls for executive action are not new. Major moves on immigration already seemed increasingly dead in the House this session. But now, they appear dead for longer than that — through the 2016 Republican presidential primary, and perhaps as long as Republicans control one house of Congress.

Marielena Hincapié, the executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, also said executive action by Obama will be the next step.

“If Boehner decides not to act and the window closes on immigration reform, the president has no option but to go bold,” she said. “He’s doing it on student debt, he’s doing it on minimum wage, if Congress won’t act, he will, he should do everything at his disposal.”

The loosely united group of activists pressing for executive action have often disagreed on what exactly the president should do concerning, most urgently, record numbers of deportations. But most agree with some version of a proposal from New York Senator Chuck Schumer: that some sort of relief should be extended to the undocumented immigrants who would be protected by a bill that won bipartisan support last year in the Senate. It’s a move that would provide some sort of legal status — if not citizenship — to several million immigrants.

“Even if the president can not statutorily do the entire road to citizenship, he certainly has the legal authority to do for millions more what he has already done for young people,” said Chris Newman, legal director for the National Day Laborers Organizing Network.

“Once the smoke clears, there will be galvanized momentum for the president to act using existing authority,” Newman said.

Advocates also found themselves Tuesday night making the difficult case that backing reform isn’t actually bad politics for Republicans. Hincapié, for one, disputed the notion that Cantor had lost over his position on immigration. Cantor’s loss was “a vote about not having a backbone,” she said. Another immigration reform group, America’s Voice, blasted Cantor as “no friend of immigration reform” and in fact “the main person in the House blocking a vote on citizenship.”

America’s Dumbest Congressman blasts America for being too nice to children

Representative Louie Gohmert (R-TX) questions U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on

Indecipherable | attribution: REUTERS

Gohmert’s insanity and hatred for “the other” has piqued.  It can’t get any worse than this…

Daily Kos

For a while there I thought Rep. Louie Gohmert had fallen down a well. We hadn’t heard from him in so long. And it was so nice. But America’s Dumbest Congressman is back, and his latest efforts at saying things via his word-hole show are devoted to explaining how the Obama administration and Congress are “complicit” in the sex trafficking of children.

“Well, because of the talk of amnesty in this town and because we do not have a secured border, then this administration and this Congress also is complicit in helping lure people into sex trafficking, into horrible situations, even people trying to cross deserts who don’t make it,”Gohmert said during a speech on the House floor. “That should not be.”

In one case, he said, “a 3-year-old had someone convince them that they needed to try to get here.”

Um, OK. But the real problem with the children—andGohmert has reserved his spittle for the children, because the Obama administration policy of not deporting them at a sufficiently blistering pace has really wedged itself deep in wherever such things get wedged, in Louie Gohmert—is that the little bastards don’t pay enough taxes. He was promised they would pay taxes!

Please read below the fold for more on this ridiculous story.

“We have people saying, oh, if we just legalize everybody that is here, all of this new tax money will come flooding in,” Gohmert continued. “There can be no debate that young children who are not working, even if they are legalized, for those who make the argument, gee, look at all the tax money that the Federal coffers will be getting if we just legalize everybody here, that is a bogus argument.”

I can’t quite parse out what the man is going on about, since he’s saying it so, um, stupidly, but he appears to be peeved that someone told him the 3-year-olds would be paying taxes and ah-ha, he’s discovered that that isn’t true. Or maybe he’s saying that the young children shouldbe working? Or—you know, this may be a lost cause. Gohmert speaks in a register that normal humans just can’t hear.

He added that children would continue to come to the U.S. as long as Homeland Security continued toprovide “three hot meals, a bed to sleep,” and “if we can’t find your parents illegally in the United States, then we will find you some other parents, people are being drawn in.”

“It is time to stop the luring of young children across the border by the activities of this administration,” Gohmert insisted.

What the hell does Louie Gohmert think goes on? Come to the United States and get yourself some free parents—what? And he’s mad that Homeland Security feeds the kids when it finds them? As opposed to …?

I’m sorry, but America’s Dumbest Congressman has broken me. It’s not possible to even make fun of our esteemed representative anymore because it first requires at least being able to figure out what the holy chapped and blistered hell he is Going On About, and that task seems to get harder with every passing month. Never have we more needed a wingnut-to-English interpreter than we do when Louie Gohmert gets up to speak.

Baltimore Will Stop Automatically Detaining Immigrants, Maryland Governor Says

baltimore

CREDIT: SHUTTERSTOCK

Think Progress

The Baltimore City Detention Center will start scrutinizing federal orders to hold immigrants for deportation instead of automatically granting these requests, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) announced Friday. The policy change adds Baltimore to the growing number of cities in the U.S. resisting federal immigration policy.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents often ask local jails to hold immigrants for deportation. Baltimore will now only grant these requests if the immigrant has been charged with or convicted of a felony or serious misdemeanor. “We will focus our efforts on complying with ICE detainers when there is an actual threat to the public’s safety,” O’Malley said.

O’Malley’s move comes on the heels of a Baltimore Sun investigation that found more than 40 percent of Maryland’s deportees had no criminal record at all, one of the highest percentages of any state in the nation.

The federal program Secure Communities was intended to catch and deport dangerous criminals by coordinating with local jails. In reality, the vast majority of “convicted criminals” deported through Secure Communities were guilty only of traffic violations or civil immigration offenses, such as crossing the border illegally or overstaying a visa. Just 12 percent of deportees in 2013 were convicted of serious crimes like murder, sexual assault, or drug trafficking.

While deporting mainly harmless immigrants, Secure Communities has also seriously damaged immigrant neighborhoods’ relationships with law enforcement. Immigrants areafraid to report crimes or come forward as witnesses for fear of being deported or getting a family member deported.

Because of this, California and Connecticut have passed laws to prohibit police officers from honoring ICE hold requests except in cases of serious crimes. Several cities, includingChicagoSanta Clara, and New York City, have adopted policies to defy ICE. Most recently, Philadelphia’s mayor signed an executive order to forbid police cooperation with ICE unless the federal government gets a warrant, making it one of the most progressive cities for immigrants.

As immigration reform continues to languish in the House, President Obama is coming under pressure from activists and members of his own party to end deportations nationwide for those who would be eligible for citizenship under the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform plan. In the meantime, states and municipalities all over the country arestarting to take action to protect their immigrants from restrictive federal policies.

 

Ann Coulter likens U.S. demographic shift to ‘being raped,’ blames Democrats

Ann Coulter likens U.S. demographic shift to ‘being raped,’ blames Democrats (via Raw Story )

In the video embedded below, arch conservative pundit Ann Coulter likened the shift in U.S. demographics to “being raped” as a room full of attendees of the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference guffawed and applauded. Coulter was appearing…

(more…)

A heckler yelled at Obama. Here’s what happened next…

US President Barack Obama arrives to speak on immigration reform in San Francisco, Nov. 25, 2013.

US President Barack Obama arrives to speak on immigration reform in San Francisco, Nov. 25, 2013. | JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

At some point Congress will wake up and do it’s job.  I suspect it won’t be until we vote out the slackers (from both parties) in 2014….

MSNBC

Arguing “there’s no reason we shouldn’t get immigration reform done right now,” President Obama demanded on Monday for the umpteenth time that Congress pass his top legislative priority already.

So you can understand if he was a bit annoyed when, towards the end of his speech in San Francisco’s Chinatown, pro-immigration activists started heckling.

“Mr. President, please use your executive order to halt deportations for all 11.5 million undocumented immigrants in this country right now!” one protester yelled. As Obama tried to respond, the shouting continued: “You have a power to stop deportation for all undocumented immigrants in this country!”

“Actually I don’t,” Obama replied. “And that’s why we’re here.”

A month earlier, Senator Ted Cruz was interrupted by anti-deportation activists, whom he nonsensically accused of being “President Obama’s paid political operatives,” during a speech to a conservative conference. Immigration protesters have shadowed administration officials for years, popping up at Congressional hearings to target Janet Napolitano, who was in the audience for today’s speech, and even occupying Obama’s campaign offices in 2012.

These protesters are confronting a fundamental contradiction in Obama’s record: he’s made immigration reform his top second-term priority even as his administration has presided over record deportations.

After Senate Republicans filibustered the DREAM Act, which would grant legal status to young undocumented immigrants, activists slowly convinced Obama to halt deportations for undocumented youth until Congress came around. Now they’re demanding he do the same for the broader unauthorized immigrant community, or at the very least, for their parents and siblings who still face the threat of removal every day. After all, if you’re fighting to get them on a path to citizenship, why would you want to kick them out? These arguments are likely to get louder if immigration reform dies in the House.

The president, however, has argued that such a sweeping move would require a change to the law. He repeated the claim on Monday.

“What you need to know, when I’m speaking as President of the United States and I come to this community, is that if, in fact, I could solve all these problems without passing laws in Congress, then I would do so,” he said Monday. “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.”

Politically, Republicans don’t have an obvious way to exploit these tensions, but they are trying.

“Democrats are facing credibility problems, whether it is from Obamacare failures or massive deportations, that’s why you see the president’s approval ratings suffer,” Izzy Santa, who handles Hispanic outreach for the Republican National Committee, told MSNBC. “The fact is that Republicans continue to work on immigration reform, which is more than Democrats ever did when they controlled the White House and Congress.”

The RNC, which has backed efforts to pass immigration reform, may be able to tweak Obama a little over deportations. But the vast majority of Republicans in Congress are on record demanding even more aggressive deportations. The only House vote Republican leaders have allowed on the topic this year was an amendment by anti-immigration firebrand Steve King calling on the White House to deport DREAMers. It passed with almost unanimous Republican support.

It’s true Democrats didn’t pass immigration reform in Obama’s first two years, when Democrats briefly had 60 votes in the Senate. But for most of that session they were stuck at 59 votes and the only Republican willing to negotiate with them, Senator Lindsey Graham, backed out in a procedural dispute. Mitt Romney tried the exact same “Where was Obama?” argument with Latino voters in 2012, even as he advocated “self-deportation” in debates. It didn’t work.

Obama is doing his best to convince protesters which party to blame if reform collapses once again.

“Right now it’s up to Republicans in the House to decide if we can move forward as a country on this bill,” Obama said. “If they don’t want to see it happen, they’ve got to explain why.”

House Republican leaders have offered a variety of excuses lately as to why they haven’t come up with an immigration plan of their own. The schedule’s too tight, or they’re mad at the White House over health care, or Obama is secretly trying to kill immigration reform with unrealistic demands so Democrats win Latino voters.

The president’s goal this month has been to box them in by saying “yes” to their demands whenever possible. Speaker John Boehner doesn’t like the Senate’s bill? Fine, you can pass a bunch of smaller bills instead. They say I’m demonizing Republicans to scare them away from a bill? Well, I think the Speaker is just swell!

“The good news is, just this past week Speaker Boehner said that he is ‘hopeful we can make progress’ on immigration reform,” Obama said. “And that is good news. I believe the Speaker is sincere.  I think he genuinely wants to get it done.  And that’s something we should be thankful for this week.”

While Obama faces his own pressures, his refusal to back away from talks puts the onus on Boehner to prove his party can deal with the deportation issue at all. And right now there’s no consensus within the party as to whether the country should let any  undocumented immigrants remain, let alone get on a path to citizenship. Until they can start naming some demands, they’re for self-deportation by default.

Watch Obama and the hecklers:

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