Nationwide push for immigration comes to San Jose

SAN JOSE, Calif.

"It is time the president of the United States use the power that he has," said Congressman Luis Gutierrez, D-Chicago.

San Jose's immigrant community is through waiting for immigration reform. Now they're demanding it from Obama. In the 2008 presidential election, 67 percent of Hispanic voters backed Obama.

"He mentioned that immigration reform was going to be a priority. It's already been over two years and we need to continue putting pressure on President Obama," said event organizer Cesar Juarez.

The one leading the national movement is Gutierrez. He is rallying groups that until now have stayed silent because of their immigration status.

"We don't have a green card, we don't have our citizenship," said Mustafa Arshad, an illegal immigrant.

"I've been living for 19 years in fear, fear that my parents will get deported," said Cesar Arellano, a child of illegal immigrants.

Those at the event in San Jose want the president to pass the Dream Act and stop deportations that would split up families with children, but several tea party and Minutemen groups oppose this movement.

"If we were enforcing the laws like we should and securing our borders like we should these people would not be in these situations in the first place," said David Miller from the Tri Valley Patriots.

But even San Jose's police chief admits arresting illegal immigrants isn't a priority.

"It's not to say we're ignoring it, it's just not our primary focus. We don't have time to do our existing work, much less add to our plate," said San Jose Police Chief Chris Moore.

Gutierrez, meantime, is adding more to his calendar. At each of the town hall meetings, attendees are signing petitions, demanding immigration reform.

Next Wednesday Gutierrez will take all of the petitions and hand-deliver them to Obama.

Copyright © 2023 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.