- Obama pledged to take action on immigration reform by the end of the year.
- Obama was interrupted by an undocumented immigrant activist.
- Obama listed accomplishments that he said have specifically benefited Latinos in the U.S.
President Barack Obama told Hispanic leaders and immigration reform activists Thursday that despite frustrations with the delays in fixing the country's immigration system, he's going to need them to have his back.
After punting on taking executive action on immigration until after the midterms, Obama pledged Thursday evening at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute that he will act on immigration before the end of the year.
"The moment I act -- and it will be taking place between the November election and the end of the year -- opponents of reform will roll out the same old scare tactics," Obama said. "And when opponents are out there saying who knows what, I'm going to need you to have my back."
Obama was interrupted by one heckler that The Hill newspaper identified as Blanca Hernandez, an undocumented immigrant activist, who shouted "we need relief now" and was escorted out by security.
Obama emphasized Thursday that he can't accomplish real, long-term change without what he called the "powerful" Latino vote.
"Si se puede, si votamos. Yes we can, if we vote," Obama told the crowd to applause.
That rallying call, reminiscent of his 2008 campaign slogan, piles on top of Democratic efforts to mobilize lackluster Latinos who appear less likely to support Democrats in November despite strong backing in recent cycles, according to the Washington Post.
"Nothing I can do will be as comprehensive or lasting as the Senate bill. Anything I can do can be reversed by the next President," Obama said.
While Obama pushed back his plans for executive action this summer and a bipartisan Senate bill on immigration reform last year failed to pick up steam in the House, Obama insisted that his administration has done a lot to benefit Latinos in his nearly six years in office.
Obama rattled off a list of campaign promises that he said he has kept: from confronting "the crisis of overcrowded classrooms and underfunded schools" to fixing the "broken health care system that left one out of three Hispanics uninsured."
"The progress we've made has been hard. Sometimes it's been slower than we want, but that progress has been steady and it has been real. We have big things together and we're going to do more," Obama said.
And fixing immigration reform falls under that category of "more."
"Fixing our broken immigration system is one more big thing that we have to do and that we will do," Obama said.