A small team of 7 immigration activists chained themselves to the White House fence Wednesday. The demonstration was prompted by President Barack Obama's announcement Monday that he would not stop deportations of undocumented immigrants which have climbed to their highest rate than under any other president.
According to the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement division, a record-setting 409,849 undocumented immigrants were deported last year.
Reform legislation, also called the DREAM Act, has been halted in the House of Representatives. President Obama told Telemundo Monday that Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) decision not to call the legislation for a vote was to blame.
"The votes are there. The only thing that’s preventing it is– you know, Speaker Boehner’s decided that– he doesn’t wanna call it right now.”
Immigration activists have been pushing the president to expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) memorandum which was implemented in June 2012. The executive directive grants 'prosecutorial discretion' for customs and immigration agencies regarding the children of illegal immigrants.
Children who were brought into the United States before age 16, have continuously resided in the country since 2007, and fit additional criteria are eligible. However, those over 31 are not and an estimated 200,000 parent deportations have occurred between 2010 and 2012.
Pressure now resides on the Obama administration to determine whether or not to deport the activists, all of whom have been reported as undocumented. On the same token, however, pressing charges could backfire among Latino voters who have overwhelmingly voted to reelect him in 2012, 70 percent to 30 percent in favor of Republican Mitt Romney.