Protestor Heckles President, Demands Executive Order to Halt Deportations

San Francisco, CA- President Obama’s speech in San Francisco was interrupted by a heckler Tuesday as he again pushed Republicans to act on immigration reform.

As the President was nearing the end of his speech, one of the audience members directly behind him seized on the opportunity and demanded the President use his executive powers to stop deportations.

“You have a power to stop deportation for all,” the man shouted.

This protester was echoing the sentiments of numerous pro-immigration groups who have been pressing the President to halt deportations through executive orders. Even though the ICE has been directed to focus deportation enforcement on individuals with criminal records, advocates say thousands of families are being separated for minor violations.

The President responded to the heckler that he can’t pass immigration reform through executive orders, and turned the pressure up on Republicans in the House.

“The easy way out is to try to yell and pretend like I can do something by violating our laws. And what I’m proposing is the harder path, which is to use our democratic processes to achieve the same goal that you want to achieve. But it won’t be as easy as just shouting. It requires us lobbying and getting it done,” Obama said. “For those of you who are committed to getting this done, I am going to march with you and fight with you every step of the way.”

The President can use executive orders to reform the immigration system, and has used the privilege to give immigration reprieve to DREAMERS. But he has been reluctant to utilize this power for fear it will entrench the divide between him and Republican lawmakers. He has repeatedly dismissed the notion that he can do immigration reform without legislation from Congress.

Conservatives are however fearful that the President will use executive orders if they don’t tackle the problem. There is a significant push from numerous groups on the right to get immigration reform done, and though the process has been slow, they are making inroads.

He has not only ruled out executive orders, but has even said he will compromise on how immigration reform. The President has said that he wants and comprehensive approach. However as he can read the signs from Congress, he said last week that he could accept a piece meal approach to immigration reform.

He referred to this piece meal approach in his speech in San Francisco when made a reference to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, by saying, “we can carve that bird into multiple pieces. A drumstick here and breast meat there. But as long as all the pieces get done soon, and we actually deliver on the core values we’ve been talking about for so long, I think everybody’s fine with it. They’re not worried about the procedures. They just want the result.”

Immigration reform may not happen this year, but there are some indications that lawmakers might actually take the issue seriously and take action in 2014.