Obama responds to heckler on immigration reform: 'It won't be as easy as shouting'

| Monday, Nov. 25, 2013, 9:39 p.m.

SAN FRANCISCO — A young man's plea was direct: Stop the deportations, he urged President Obama, of the 11.5 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.

“You have the power to stop deportations for all,” the man said as he interrupted Obama's immigration policy speech here on Monday afternoon.

“Actually,” the president replied, “I don't. And that's why we're here.”

He added, “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 just shouting. It requires us lobbying and getting it done.”

Surprise hecklers have become a staple of Obama's public events, but it's rare that one underscores the message that the president is trying to deliver.

Obama traveled to San Francisco's Chinatown on Monday to argue that immigration reform would be an economic windfall for the Bay Area and other communities nationwide.

Obama urged House Republicans to take up the Senate's compromise immigration bill. He reiterated his support for a piecemeal approach in the House if that's what it would take to pass a package of reforms.

Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said, “The speaker is sincere in wanting to get something done, and we're pleased the president said he can accept the step-by-step approach we're taking in the House.”

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