Unsurprisingly, the subjects were illegal immigration and amnesty. In answer to a question about deporting illegal alien students, Obama replied, â€?We want them to succeed.â€?
It would be nice if the President was more concerned that American citizens succeed â€” like having jobs and such.
Anyway, why canâ€™t young people succeed in the countries of their birth? Itâ€™s arrogant to believe that a fulfilling life can only be lived in the United States.
In addition, a recent study from the Migration Policy Institute found that an estimated 1.2 million college-educated immigrants in the United States were unemployed, while another 350,000 were unemployed.
At least the President understands that his power does not extend to overturning immigration laws passed by the Congress
Obama says he canâ€™t order halt to deportations, Fox News, March 29, 2011
Washington â€“ President Barack Obama said Monday that he cannot sign an executive order preventing the deportations of undocumented students or granting them Temporary Protected Status, but he promised to continue pushing for legislative changes in Congress.
Deportation of students, along with the high Hispanic dropout rate and the scanty proportion of those young people who go on to college, were the key issues discussed at the town hall meeting Obama held Monday at Washingtonâ€™s Bell Multicultural High School.
The videotaped question by a student holding a deportation letter opened the debate that took up the main part of the forum organized by the Univision television network and which was attended by some 600 parents, students and teachers.
â€?My question for the president is why (is he) saying that deportations have stopped or the detention of many students like me? Why is it that we are still receiving deportation letters like this one?,â€? Karen Maldonado asked, holding up such a letter.
Obama responded by citing his support for the DREAM Act, which would open up a route toward legalization for undocumented students who join the Armed Forces or complete two years of college.
Given that the DREAM Act was rejected again by the Senate last December, Univision news anchor Jorge Ramos, who was moderating the event, asked Obama if he could sign an executive order preventing the deportations.
â€?With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, thatâ€™s just not the case,â€? the president said.
â€?There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system that for me to simply through executive order ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as president,â€? Obama said.
He also rejected the idea of granting TPS to undocumented students.
TPS â€?historically has been used for special circumstances where you have immigrants to this country who are fleeing persecution in their countries, or there is some emergency situation in their native land that required them to come to the United States,â€? the president said.
That does not mean, he added, that his administration is going to stop proposing â€?legislation that would change the law in order to make it more fair, more just,â€? and he asked undocumented students all over the country to write their congressmen and urge them to support the DREAM Act.
Change â€?doesnâ€™t happen overnight,â€? he reminded his listeners. â€?So many changes that weâ€™ve made had to do with young people being willing to struggle and fight to make sure that their voices are heard.â€?
But the main message Obama wanted to send to Hispanic students, who make up 22 percent of all students in the country, was that their community â€?will be a key for our future successâ€? and that the country needs everyone to finish their high school education and be able to go to college.
Only about half of Hispanic students manage to finish high school in the normal amount of time, and very few go on to university for further study. Just 13 percent of those who do obtain a bachelorâ€™s degree and only about 4 percent receive a postgraduate diploma, according to the Education Department.
The governmentâ€™s strategy in the face of this challenge is to focus on the roughly 2,000 high schools which have the highest dropout rates in the country.