Obama addresses heckler at immigration speech

The president told a heckler at an immigration speech that he could not just wave his hand and halt all deportations.
Posted By Gabrielle Levy  |  Nov. 26, 2013 at 9:32 AM
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Nov. 26 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama was interrupted during a speech on immigration in California Monday by a heckler who called out to the president about his family's plight.

Rather than waiting for the shouter -- an undocumented immigrant from South Korea who is a graduate student in San Francisco -- to be removed, the president listened to what the heckler said, then responded directly to him.

"Mr. Obama," the audience member, who was behind the president in on the stage in San Francisco, "my family has been separated for 19 months now. I have not seen my family. Our families are separated. I need your help."

"There are thousands of people [whose families] are torn apart every day," the heckler went on. "Mr. President, please use your executive order to halt deportations for all 11.5 million undocumented immigrants in this country right now."

When security tried to remove the heckler, the president told them to let him stay, then said he doesn't have the power to stop deportations alone.

"Now, 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 these problems without passing laws in Congress, then I would do so," Obama said.

"But we’re also a nation of laws," he went on. "That’s part of our tradition. And so the easy way out is to try to yell and pretend like I can do something by violating our laws."

"And what I’m proposing is the harder path, which is to use our democratic processes 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."

Watch the whole exchange, below:

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