Obama Handles Hecklers During Immigration Speech

The president was forced to stop his speech on immigration reform to address hecklers who demanded he put an end to deportations. 

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An attendee (back, 2nd from the right) heckles President Barack Obama as he speaks on immigration reform at the Betty Ann Ong Chinese Recreation Center in San Francisco

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

Hecklers in San Francisco on Monday interrupted the president as he tried to deliver a speech that called for House Republicans to continue the push forward for immigration reform, the Huffington Post reports.

During the speech at the Betty Ann Ong Chinese Recreation Center in the Chinatown neighborhood, a young man insisted the commander-in-chief put an end to deportations.

"Our families are separated," a young man yelled. "Mr. President, please use your executive authority to halt [deportations]. We agree that we need to pass comprehensive immigration reform, but at the same time, you have the power to stop deportations." 

"Actually, I don't," the president replied, "and that's why we're here," the Huff Post reports.

Others began to chant: "Stop deportation. Yes, we can."

President Obama explained to the hecklers that he simply can't halt deportations just because he is the president.

"What you need to know, when I'm speaking as president of the United States and I come to this community, is that if in fact I could solve all of these problems without passing laws in Congress, then I would do so," he said. "But we're also a nation of laws. That's part of our tradition.

"So the easy way out is to try to yell and pretend like I can do something by violating our laws," he continued. "What I'm proposing is the harder path, which is to use our democratic process 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," the HuffPost reports.

Once everyone settled down, the president continued, saying he believed House Speaker John Boehner to be serious about wanting to work toward new immigration legislation. Since the president and the House GOP can't agree as to what part of the bills would change and what would remain, the president offered a piecemeal approach just in time for the holidays. "It's Thanksgiving," he joked. "We can carve that bird into multiple pieces," the Huff Post reports.

Read more at Huffington Post.

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