On Thursday, amnesty advocates gathered across the street from the White House and vowed to remain there until President Barack Obama eases deportations and grants more temporary amnesty to illegal immigrants with executive orders. But they were so few in number that they were reportedly outnumbered by reporters who went to cover the protest.
Call it Occupy White House.
Cronkite News reported that there were about 20 protesters outside the White House, and they “appeared to be outnumbered by reporters Thursday.”
According to Fusion, amnesty advocates are “staking out a space in Lafayette Square, the public park just north of the White House,” and “they plan to protest there each day from now until the president takes action to grant relief to families struggling with deportations.”
“It’s very important for the president to stop deportations, to grant relief to families who are currently in this country, to be able to stop the deportation machine right now,” Erika Andiola, co-director for the DRM Action Coalition, told the outlet. “That’s why we’re here. To say to the president, ‘We are going to stay outside of your house, we’re going to stay outside of your door, your window until you stop the deportations.'”
Not1More, which will stage protests across 50 cities this weekend to demand that Obama end deportations, organized the protest with other pro-amnesty advocates. Not1More member Tania Unzueta said the group will be “here in front of the White House indefinitely until we know that he (the president) has heard us,” according to Cronkite News.
Obama, via executive fiat, enacted the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012, which grants temporary work permits to illegal immigrants who are under 30, came to the country before they were 16, and meet other qualifications.
Because comprehensive immigration reform, which the Congressional Budget Office determined would lower the wages of American workers, has been stalled in Congress, amnesty advocates want Obama to use more executive actions and have labeled him the “deporter in chief,” even though the evidence suggests otherwise.
According to NBC News, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus sent a memo to Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson on Thursday demanding the Obama administration use “all legal means available” to expand deportation deferrals and even allow families who have been deported to return to the United States “under humanitarian parole.” They recommended that the Obama administration:
- Expand deportation deferrals to workers and families who would benefit from legalization measures in the Senate’s comprehensive immigration bill and are not security or public risks.
- Extend parole in place to more people. The administration extended this to family members of military personnel.
- Allow family who have been forced out of the country to return to the U.S. under humanitarian parole, which would allow them to pursue legal residence.
- Allow young immigrants with deportation deferrals, temporary protected status, asylum or refugee status to enlist in the military.
But multiple reports have debunked the “deporter in chief” myth. As Breitbart News reported, a report released by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) showed that “98 percent of individuals deported from the United States in 2013 were either criminals, apprehended while illegally crossing the border, or had been previously deported.” And Breitbart News also first reported the “findings of a Center for Immigration Studies report that concluded, based on federal government documents, that Obama’s Department of Homeland Security has released 68,000 illegal immigrants who had been previously convicted of a crime last year.”
Obama’s leniency on deportations and amnesty — and the clamor and chatter surrounding it on both sides of the aisle — has sent a signal to illegal immigrant children that if they can cross the U.S. border they will be allowed to remain in the country. Breitbart News has also reported that even “though the House GOP’s immigration principles state that there ‘will be a zero tolerance policy for those who cross the border illegally or overstay their visas in the future,’ they also state that one of the ‘great founding principles of our country was that children would not be punished for the mistakes of their parents.'” U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) National Council President Kenneth Palinkas pointed out in a letter to Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) that such a stance would essentially mean perpetual amnesty for illegal immigrant minors.
According to Gil Kerlikowske, the head of Customs and Border Protection, these debates — along with the implementation of Obama’s Deferred Action program — have led to an influx of illegal immigrant children crossing the country’s southern border with Mexico in recent years, which he predicted will only get worse in the years ahead.