Barack Obama heckled in Chicago on immigration reform

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Washington | Published: November 26, 2014 2:49:46 PM

At least four hecklers started disrupting the President Barack Obama's speech when he was midway through it.

US President Barack Obama was heckled several times while delivering a speech on immigration reform. ReutersUS President Barack Obama was heckled several times while delivering a speech on immigration reform. Reuters

US President Barack Obama was heckled several times while delivering a speech on immigration reform and his recent executive actions related to it in his home town of Chicago.

At least four hecklers started disrupting the President’s speech when he was midway through it.

The President himself tried to calm down the situation and respond to the allegations from hecklers.

“It’s good to be back in Chicago,” Obama said amidst laughter and applause from the audience as one of the hecklers tried to disrupt his speech yesterday.

“Because everybody has got something to say. But I’m not going to be able to have a conversation with each of you separately,” he said amidst another round of laughter.

“So there are other ways of engaging. Just sit down. I went off script for a pretty long time. I don’t mind. I know people are passionate about this. But be respectful of everybody who’s here,” he said urging hecklers to calm down.

It all started when he was speaking on undocumented workers who break law, and are in a small minority.

“Undocumented workers who broke our immigration laws should be held accountable. There’s a particular category, and that’s those who may be dangerous. It’s a small minority, but it’s a significant one. And that’s why, over the past six years, deportations of criminals are up 80 per cent,” he said.

Obama said the US will keep focusing its limited enforcement resources on those who actually pose a threat to its security.

“Felons, not families. Gangs, not some mom or dad who are working hard just trying to make a better life for their kids,” Obama said as one of the heckler interrupted his speech.

“Mr President, that has been a lie. You have been deporting every –,” the heckler said as he was booed by the audience.

“All right. Okay. All right.

That’s fine. All right,” Obama said.

“Not one more!Stop deportations!” the heckler demanded.

Nothing much was audible as heckler continued.

“Here, can I just say this? All right, I’ve listened to you. I heard you. I heard you. I heard you. All right? Now, I’ve been respectful. I let you holler. All right? Nobody is removing you. I’ve heard you. But you’ve got to listen to me, too,” Obama said as he tried to calm down the situation.

“All right? And I understand you may disagree.I understand you may disagree. But we’ve got to be able to talk honestly about these issues. All right?” he said.

“Now, you’re absolutely right that there have been significant numbers of deportations. That’s true. But what you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took action to change the law,” Obama said amidst applause from the audience.

“Though I understand why you might have yelled at me a month ago – … although I disagree with some of your characterisations, it doesn’t make much sense to yell at me right now … – when we’re making changes,” he said.

Obama announced the most sweeping immigration reform in a generation on November 21 that will protect 5 million of the nation’s more than 11 million undocumented immigrants from deportation and may benefit hundreds and thousands of Indian techies seeking legal permanent status.

The plan would let parents of US citizens and legal permanent residents remain in the country temporarily, without the threat of deportation. The measure would apply to those who have been in the US for last five years.

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