Reid J. Epstein — Politico 03/04/2014
President Barack Obama has lost the nation’s largest Latino advocacy organization.
The National Council of La Raza is set to declare Obama “the deporter-in-chief” and demand that he take unilateral action to stop deportations.
NCLR, the nation’s largest Latino advocacy organization, had been the last significant progressive grass-roots immigration-reform organization publicly defending the White House immigration stance. NCLR President Janet Murguía will on Tuesday night demand Obama put a halt to his administration’s deportations.
“For the president, I think his legacy is at stake here,” Murguía said in an interview in advance of NCLR’s annual Capital Awards dinner, where she will deliver a speech lambasting Obama’s deportation policy. “We consider him the deportation president, or the deporter-in-chief.”
By April, Obama will have overseen more than 2 million deportations, activists say, far more than any previous president. Obama has insisted — including when he was interrupted by a protester — that Congress has tied his hands and he cannot reduce the number of people being deported unilaterally. Latino groups are planning a series of mass demonstrations April 5 to protest the deportations and force lawmakers to choose between criticizing Obama or facing a populist wrath.
Murguía said NCLR has been privately urging the White House for months to do something about deportations — which will soon number 2 million since Obama took office. The group was also using its megaphone to blame Congress and not Obama for the deportations. Just three weeks ago, NCLR called for an end “to unnecessary deportations” and asked supporters to “ask Republican leadership to take a stand for family values and pass immigration reform.”
Now that focus is being directed at the White House.
“We respectfully disagree with the president on his ability to stop unnecessary deportations,” Murguía will say during a Tuesday night speech to NCLR’s annual Capital Awards dinner, according to prepared remarks. “He can stop tearing families apart. He can stop throwing communities and businesses into chaos. He can stop turning a blind eye to the harm being done. He does have the power to stop this. Failure to act will be a shameful legacy for his presidency.”