Fusion anchor Jorge Ramos on Tuesday night challenged President Barack Obama to explain whether or not he changed his mind on halting deportations for some undocumented immigrants living in the United States.
Ramos surfaced some of Obama’s past statements saying he couldn’t use executive authority to act on immigration, while the President argued he never flip-flopped on the issue. The interview got testy at times as the two talked over each other.
“If you, as you’re saying, always had the legal authority to stop deportations, then why did you deport 2 million people?” Ramos asked. “For six years you did it. You destroyed many families. They called you deporter-in-chief.”
“You called me deporter-in-chief,” Obama shot back.
Ramos told the President that it was actually an activist group that used the moniker and repeated that Obama could have stopped those deportations if he wanted to.
“That is not true,” Obama responded.
“And those, like you sometimes Jorge, who suggest there are simple quick answers to these problems, I think –” he continued.
“I never said that,” Ramos interrupted.
“Yes, you do. That’s how you present it,” Obama said. “When you present it in that way, it does a disservice because it makes the assumption that the political process is one that can easily be moved around depending on the will of one person, and that’s not how things work.”
He emphasized that the executive actions he’d already taken were neither permanent nor applicable to all undocumented immigrants, and asked Ramos to make sure immigrants “understand what their opportunities are” and how to take advantage of the orders.
Watch below via Fusion:
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at email@example.com.