Although President Obama was willing to order the federal government to stop deporting young ‘DREAMer’ illegal immigrants last summer, he signaled in an interview with Latino network Telemundo that he couldn’t allow all illegal immigrants to stay.
Host Jose Diaz-Balart fairly asked him why he couldn’t extend the same benefits to illegal immigrants already in America.
“Yesterday in your Las Vegas rally I met Leticia. She is an undocumented mother of three. And she and so many other people– ask me to ask you, ‘Why can’t you do for them what you did for the DREAMers?’” he asked
“Well, I think as– as you know– and I’ve said this before to you, Jose, but– I’m not a king,” Obama replied. “You know, my job as the head of the executive branch ultimately is to carry out the law. And– you know, when it comes to enforcement of our immigration laws– we’ve got some discretion. We can prioritize– what we do. But we can’t simply ignore the law.”
Obama added that “DREAMers” were probably going to school instead of committing crimes, and weren’t much of a threat to the country.
“They’ve– effectively– been raised here and– think of themselves as Americans,” Obama added. “And so let’s prioritize our enforcement resources.”
The President issued an executive order in June 2012 to stop deportations and begin granting work permits for young illegal immigrants under 30 who were potentially eligible for the DREAM act.