A small group of illegal immigrants were arrested Wednesday morning for protesting deportations in front of the White House. These protesters came from states including New York, Arizona, Louisiana, and Georgia who handcuffed themselves to the front gates of the presidential home after President Obama's said that suspending deportations was "not an option."
Within minutes, law enforcement cleared Pennsylvania Avenue of passersby and tourists to arrest the seven protesters who chanted together "Not one more!" and "Si se puede!"
Two of the arrested immigrants, Narcisco Valenzuela Siriaco, 38, and Jose Francisco Rincon Cautino, 43, are currently fighting their deportations after being apprehended in April. Siriaco claimed that deportations cause "children to suffer, and that he doesn't want anybody to go through what he did."
Groups such as United We Dream and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network are disappointed in President Obama's lack of willingness to use his executive authority to defer deportation actions when just last year, he exercised this power to excuse young people who were brought into the United States as children, a move that has exculpated 455,000 people in its first year alone. These groups argue that the same should be done for parents, siblings, and friends — otherwise his administration will solidify a legacy of being the most anti-immigrant administration in history.
Obama on the other hand claims that doing so would mean he would be "ignoring the law in a way that I think would be very difficult to defend legally."
House Republicans, who are largely responsible for holding up the immigration overhaul process, have refused to take up the Gang of 8 Senate bill passed in June due to its contentious "pathway to citizenship" provision. Because the voices of these advocates have fallen on deaf ears in the House, pressure is then, once again, redirected back to the Obama administration for action.
Despite the slowed progress since early this summer, young immigrants "will not let President Obama off the hook for his role in the moral crisis [this] nation faces. ... He does have the power to stop deportations and[they] will keep challenging him."