A coalition of activist groups in Michigan will join together to demand action on immigration from President Barack Obama. According to a news release, Michigan United, Action of Greater Lansing and the West Michigan Immigration Reform Coalition are demanding that he make use of his executive powers to “stop deportations and keep immigrant families together.”
Distributed by Michigan United, the release further stated, “Though Congress may continue to stall immigration reform, the President has the authority and responsibility to stop many of the 1100 daily deportations.”
As a part of a national effort, the demonstrations in Michigan will be held on June 28, the anniversary of the passage of immigration reform by the U.S. Senate in 2013. Rallies are being held in front of the federal buildings in Detroit and Grand Rapids, the Michigan state capitol, and at Kalamazoo Valley Community College.
It was on June 25 that U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) claimed that immigration reform is a dead issue in the House of Representatives because of opposition posed by Congressional Republicans. He, too, is calling on Obama to circumvent the legislative branch by issuing executive orders to stop deportations of undocumented aliens. In an impassioned speech on the House floor, Gutierrez said that Republicans’ "chance to play a role in immigration policy is over. We've given you time to craft legislation and you failed. The president has no other choice but to act on existing laws to make deportation policies more humane."
Heretofore, Obama and fellow Democrats had appeared to avoid directed criticism of House Republicans on the issue of immigration reform. Obama had been delaying a review of deportation policies until the end of this summer so as to allow the House to take action. In an interview with the Washington Post, Gutierrez said “There's no reason to continue to wait. Every day, 1,000 people get deported. The president should stop deportations. There's no reason to wait. Wait for what?,” while lambasting “recalcitrant” Republicans.
Even so, immigration activists have been angered by the Obama administration’s success in deporting illegal aliens. Some are calling on Obama to use his executive powers to expand a 2012 program to defer the deportations of immigrants who came to the country illegally as children.
During a news conference on Capitol Hill, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced the creation of a working group of Republican legislators who will study Obama’s response to the entry of tens of thousands of unaccompanied children and other minor illegal aliens who are streaming into the country from Central America through Mexico. Most of these are coming from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras: three countries that are fighting an ongoing war with narcoterrorists who have also made inroads in the U.S. Boehner said at the news conference that the working group will report back and suggest changes in immigration law and "help our members understand what the facts are, as opposed to what some of the fiction is."
In the Senate, two of the prime movers of immigration reform, Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), said that they are still hoping for forward movement in the House of Representatives. According to the Wall Street Journal, McCain said that the primary defeat of former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) has been a loss in that effort.