WASHINGTON - The president of a prominent Latino advocacy group called President Barack Obama the "deporter in chief," denouncing the administration's deportation of nearly 2 million immigrants.
Janet Murguia, who heads the National Council of La Raza, also directed her anger and frustration at House Republicans for stalling on immigration legislation, which is languishing some eight months after the Senate passed a bipartisan, comprehensive bill. Murguia made the comments at an awards dinner Tuesday night.
"For us, this president has been the deporter in chief," Murguia said. "Any day now, this administration will reach the 2 million mark for deportations. It is a staggering number that far outstrips any of his predecessors and leaves behind it a wake of devastation for families across America."
Since Obama took office, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has removed nearly 2 million immigrants in an aggressive enforcement of current law. Advocacy groups fault the president for deporting too many people, but Republicans argue that Obama has been too lax in dealing with the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the country illegally.
Murguia argued that Obama has the authority to stop tearing families apart.
She also pressed the House GOP to act on immigration.
"You have had more than enough time to come up with legislation to move reform forward. It is time to stop the political gamesmanship," she said.
House GOP leaders unveiled principles on immigration in January, but division within the ranks has prevented any action as Republicans fear that addressing the divisive issue during an election year will undermine their chances in November's midterm elections.