President Obama attended an immigration town hall at Florida International University yesterday to discuss immigration policy. It marked the first time a president has ever visited the FIU campus.
Obama spoke largely about his two biggest promises for immigration reform: that undocumented persons contributing to the community should get priority for staying here in America, and that his Administration will focus on “deporting criminals, not families.”
President Obama was joined at the town hall meeting by Eric Narvaez, an Army veteran who returned home after fighting for his country to discover that his mother was facing deportation. “I love this country,’’ he told Obama, “but I’m facing another war – trying to keep my mother here.’’ The President thanked him for his service, emphasizing that his administration is not prioritizing people like Narvaez’s mother for deportation.
“The message I want to send today is that we are not prioritizing people like your mother for enforcement or deportation,’’ the President responded. “We are prioritizing felons, criminals, gang members – people who are a threat to our communities – not families who have lived here a long time.”
“People that are here to better themselves, to better our country, that pay their taxes, that do the right thing – why not keep them here in America?” asked FIU student Alian Collozo, echoing the President’s sentiment.
President Obama later mentioned that his executive actions are a short term solution, and that a long-term solution must come out of Congress. He has, however, promised to veto any bill out of Congress that would cripple Homeland Security over immigration issues.
FIU President Mark Rosenberg opened the town hall meeting. “We live immigration in this community,” he said, “so this is the appropriate place to have this conversation.”
Media Resources: NBC Miami 2/25/15; FIU News 2/26/15; CBS Miami 2/25/15;