Obama makes push for immigration reform

Obama makes push for immigration reform
An anti-deportation protester (R) in the audience shouts against US President Barack Obama (L), stopping him temporarily from delivering remarks during an event on immigration reform in San Francsico, November 25, 2013. Obama is attending fundraisers and events on immigration policy reform in San Francisco on Monday.

The contribution of Asian immigrants to the United States was the focus of President Barack Obama's latest push to get Congress to pass immigration reform.

Speaking at an event in San Francisco's Chinatown on Monday, he delivered a speech that all at once tried to shift the focus of the issue away from Latin Americans and paint Republicans as the party responsible for all manner of gridlock in the nation's capital.

Indeed, while it was billed as an address about immigration reform, it turned out to be a speech with a bit of everything: a spirited defence of the interim nuclear deal with Iran, a reference to that "darn website" at the heart of the botched health-care roll-out and even a bit of drama.

Just before he wrapped up, Mr Obama was heckled by a member of the audience chosen specifically to stand behind him during the speech. The man yelled persistently for Mr Obama to stop the deportation of undocumented immigrants.

Mr Obama responded first by stopping security from removing the man and then replying that immigration reform needs to happen through Congress.

"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 shouting," he said.

Mr Obama had earlier begun his remarks on immigration by saying that the debate "focuses on our southern border" when immigrants come from all over.

He said one in four US residents born outside the country comes from an Asian country. He added that San Francisco has both a large number of business owners who are immigrants and a strong economy.

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