Craig Melvin   |  March 08, 2014

Has Obama gotten a pass on deportations?

Craig Melvin talks to Telemundo’s Jose Diaz-Balart about the rising pressure surrounding the call for immigration reform.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> back to politics now. strong words this week from a key white house ally over immigration reform and specifically the deportations of illegal immigrants.

>> for us, this president has been the deporter in chief. any day now this administration will reach the 2 million mark for deportations. it's a staggering number that far outstrips any of his predecessors and leaves behind it a wake of devastation for families across america.

>> the president of the national council of la raza there. aimed at getting latinos signed up for health care . president obama defended himself.

>> i am the champion in chief of comprehensive immigration reform . [ applause ] but what i've said in the past remains true, which is until congress passes a new law, then i am constrained in terms of what i'm able to do.

>> jose diaz co-moderated that town hall event we just saw there. jose, good to see you let's start with the deportations. simple question, has president obama gotten a pass on deportations because he's a democrat?

>> in some ways, yes, craig. but i have to tell you, if he weren't deporting 1,100 people every single day as the president of the national council said, it's going to be 2 million deportees under his administration, if he wasn't doing that, the republicans would be all over the place demanding he respect and follow the law. and the fact of the matter is that in the house of representatives , there is absolutely no true, real movement for immigration reform . the senate, as you know, passed a bipartisan bill months ago that would deal with comprehensive immigration reform . and that's frozen in the house. so, yes, has he gotten a pass because he's a democrat? probably, absolutely, because people know that, as he says repeatedly, in his heart he is with the people who want to see immigration reform passed. but the facts are the facts. we're talking about 2 million people deported.

>> how concerned is the administration and democrats in general that this is an issue, this deportation issue, that this is something that could cause latino voters to stay at home in this year's mid-term elections?

>> i think it's a serious concern to anyone. and the republicans need to be concerned also because if they are seen as the party against immigration reform , they may have mitt romney part two coming up in november. but the fact of the matter is that every single day, there are 1,100 people deported in this country. and the pew about 9 million people that live in the united states in mixed immigration status families. what that means is there are some people who are citizens and whose father may be an undocumented immigrant or a cousin is an undocumented immigrant and they live in the same household. so it affects literally millions of people.

>> really quickly, i want to get your take on something that caught our eye in "the new york times" this morning. the paper reporting the border patrol has now instructed agents to show restraint, this after a series of deadly shooting by border agents that received outrage from mexico and activists as well. what does this mean for the immigration conversation that's happening right now in america?

>> it's certainly something that a lot of people are concerned about and worried about. anytime you see someone reacting with lethal force to a stone being thrown at you, there's always that fine line. if it's a little rock , you may be using excess force. if it's a boulder being thrown at people, that has a different kind of interpretation of it. but the fact is, i think it's good to have rules that you say if you're being -- when do you use lethal force ?