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Advocates & Opponents Of Comprehensive Immigration Reform Criticize Obama

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After two years of the Obama presidency, advocates for comprehensive immigration reform are criticizing the President's emphasis on deportation.

— The Washington-based Immigration Policy Center advocates a centrist policy of enforcement coupled with a path to citizenship. It has released a report card on the Obama Administration.

The center cites tension between enforcement and reform priorities, and calls out Obama's failure to fulfill his promise of comprehensive reform.

"While the president on the one hand is saying that he understands that we need immigration reform, his focus has been deporting people," said Michele Waslin, a senior policy analyst with the center. "And in some cases, deporting those very people that he really hopes to legalize someday."

The center cites a record number of deportations under Obama and criticizes the lack of effort to find ways for longtime, productive undocumented immigrants and their children to remain in the country.

"The president has said several times that all he can do is enforce the law. When we think that the president certainly has other executive powers--there are things that can be done administratively within current law that would also help to reform the system from within," Waslin said.

She added the chances of an Obama-led immigration reform by the end of his first term are minimal.

On the other hand, summarizing the president's performance on immigration issues, the conservative Center for Immigration Studies believes it's been all for show.

Mark Krikorian, Executive Director of the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies, said that the Obama administration has increased deportations and security at the border. But it has not gone far enough given the reality of increasing violence in Mexico.

"The unspoken factor underlying much of the immigration debate is the ongoing, low-level civil war within Mexico," said Krikorian. "Every time another ditch full of 100 bodies is found, makes the cause of weakening enforcement that much more difficult."

Echoing the Immigration Policy Center's Michele Waslin, Krikorian said the administration is likely to stay in the current stalemate through the end of the Obama presidency.

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