Advocates Push For More From Obama, Congress on Deportation

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Immigration advocates that met for two hours Friday with President Barack Obama left looking for more from the president and Congress on deportations and immigration reform.

United We Dream, one of several groups of young immigrants, said the review of enforcement policies and tactics Obama has directed Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to undertake was insufficient.

"Our community's demands for the president were simple: stop deportations now and use your executive authority to provide administrative relief now. Our families have spoken, and we can't wait," Praeli said in a statement.

"We've called out Democratic leaders and will follow the president wherever he goes, until our community gets the justice and dignity it deserves."

In a statement, the White House repeated the news of the directive given to Johnson, who also attended the meeting, and concern he feels for families affected by deportations and his commitment to keep pushing Congress to move immigration reform. "The president continues to believe the only permanent solution to fixing the broken immigration system is through meaningful comprehensive legislation."

But the Rev. Gabriel Salguero, president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, said "evangelicals, business and law enforcement want a vote this year" on immigration reform and "affirm" the president's call for a review.

Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, said the president's directive for the review of enforcement policies, recognizes that the current immigration system is destabilizing families, communities and the economy. But he added, "the ultimate responsibility for the laws and resources that lead to deportation lies with Congress. They must act. This year."

Obama went from the meeting to a reception honoring a part of the heritage of the U.S. that came from Irish immigration, St. Patrick's Day, which is Monday. Obama made note of that.

"Under today's laws, many of your parents and grandparents may not have made it here … There's no reason we can't do for this generation what was done for a previous generation," Obama said.

There is a split in the immigrant and Latino community on how much to pressure the president, seen as a champion for Latinos on other causes by some groups and as responsible for the breaking up of families in the largely Latino immigrant community by others. Much of the demand for the toughest action comes from young immigrants and their groups.

Jeff Hauser, spokesman for AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, said the union wants an end of deportation for people eligible for citizenship under the Senate bill and that Republicans must allow a vote on comprehensive immigration reform.

"Coming out of the meeting, president Trumka was clear _ it's the urgent demands of the grassroots for an end to needless deportations that is driving this dialogue, not the preference of national leaders," Hauser said.

The meeting followed one Obama had Thursday with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which the president called together as the lawmakers were hashing out how far to go in demanding more action from Obama on deportations.