Earlier this month, the National Day Laborer Organization Network petitioned Obama to extend his Deferred Action for childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to “the fullest extent permissible by law.” The petition also requested the suspension of deportations of individuals who would likely benefit from future immigration reform legislation. Congressional Democrats have also raised the issue with Obama to extend DACA to include family members of the young people who qualify and to working immigrants to allow them to qualify to stay in the country legally under visas.
DACA, a program created a bit over a year ago by the Obama administration has made it possible for hundreds of thousands of applicants to stay in the United States legally under two-year visas. People under the age of 30 who were brought into the United States as children, have completed or are currently enrolled in high school and/or college in the United States, and have not left the country recently or committed serious crimes currently qualify for DACA.
On President’s Day, the United Methodist Church and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network organized a protest attended by over 50 people. Religious leaders, immigrants, and supporters gathered in Lafayette Park across the street from the White House to sing songs and hold signs protesting Obama’s deportation policy which has caused 2 million people to be deported in the five years he has been in office. By comparison, 2 million people were deported in the full eight years George Bush was in office. After three warnings, police began to make arrests.
Obama stresses that there is only so much he can do to extend this program and enact immigration reform without congressional approval, urging members of Congress to continue to push for immigration legislation.
Source: Delmore, Erin. “Immigration protest sparks arrest outside White House,” MSNBC. February 17, 2014. http://www.msnbc.com/all/activists-arrested-outside-white-house