Obama To Immigration Heckler: Don’t Pretend ‘Like I Can Do Something By Violating Our Laws’

Ron Sachs/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

President Barack Obama was interrupted by a pro-immigration reform activist on Monday while pushing for a comprehensive solution to the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants in California.

While speaking at the Betty Ong Recreation Center in San Francisco’s Chinatown, Obama rebutted a heckler who shouted that the president could stop all deportations by merely signing an executive order.

“You have a power to stop all deportations,” the heckler said. 

“Actually, I don’t,” Obama responded. “The easy way out is to try to yell and pretend like I can do something by violating our laws. If in fact I could solve all these problems without passing laws in Congress, I would do so.”

Earlier in the address, Obama noted that while House Republicans remained opposed to comprehensive reform, he had hope Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) would eventually move on the issue.

“I believe the Speaker is sincere,” he said. “I think he genuinely wants to get it done.”

Obama also took the opportunity to note the holiday and compared a possible piece-meal legislative process, which he said he was open to, to a Thanksgiving Day turkey.

“If it’s Thanksgiving, we can carve that bird up in multiple pieces,” he said. “A drumstick here, breastmeat there…”

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Igor Bobic is the assistant editor of Talking Points Memo, helping oversee the site’s coverage of politics and policy in Washington. While originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Igor feels best at home on the beaches of Southern California. He can be reached at igor@talkingpointsmemo.com.

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