/ Modified aug 7, 2013 11:45 a.m.

Obama's Phoenix Visit Tuesday Draws Protests

Immigrant rights activists gathered outside high school where president gave a speech; some signs read 'Deporter-in-Chief.'

Story by Jude Joffe-Block

Fronteras Desk

President Barack Obama came to Phoenix on Tuesday to speak about the housing market, but dozens of activists showed up with their own agendas. Among them were critics of the president's deportation policy.

Obama Protest Large Immigrants rights activists gathered outside of President Obama's speech and called for an end to deportations. (PHOTO: Jude Joffe-Block)

More than 40 immigrant rights activists gathered outside of the high school where Obama spoke, some holding signs that called him 'Deporter in Chief,' a reference to the record-breaking deportation numbers during his presidency.

They also called for the release of nine young immigrant activists who were recently detained after they crossed into the country without documentation.

"We are here to ask president Obama to stop the deportations," said Carlos Garcia of the Phoenix advocacy group, Puente. "You can't come to a place like Arizona, that has been the epicenter of this issue with Sheriff Arpaio and 1070, and not address immigration."

The president did manage to mention immigration, though only briefly.

In the plan he unveiled to improve the housing market, one step was fixing the nation's broken immigration system.

That line got big applause.

"It's pretty simple, when more people buy homes and play by the rules, home values go up for everybody," Obama said. "And according to one recent study the average homeowner has already seen the value of their home boosted by thousands of dollars just because of immigration."

He went on to urge the audience to encourage U.S. House Republicans to "stop dragging their feet" on passing immigration reform.

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