Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo

President Obama rallied supporters around his immigration plan during a speech in Las Vegas on Friday, but he couldn't avoid getting heckled.

Two men interrupted the president as he spoke at Del Sol High School, saying his executive action, which could shield as many as 5 million people from deportation, did not go far enough.

Advertisement

"That's right, not everybody will qualify under this provision. That's the truth," Obama replied. "That's why we're still going to have to pass a bill."

The men continued to shout and Obama tried to talk him down, extending his arm toward them.

Advertisement

"I've heard you, but what I'm saying is this is just a first step." he said. "I've been respectful to you, I want you to be respectful to me."

Overall, the crowd inside the Del Sol High School gymnasium was very friendly toward the president and drowned out the heckler with cheers and chants of "Sí, se puede."

Latino and immigrant-rights groups generally applauded Obama's decision to act alone to curb deportations. But some expressed disappointment that it left out over half of the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants, including parents of young people granted relief under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel said that offering deportation relief  to DACA parents would not have been legally justifiable.

"We are disappointed that the executive action of the president left out parents of DREAMers," Angel Fernández, who interrupted the presdient, told Univision's Maria Elena Salinas. He shouted at Obama along with José Patiño. "We came to [this event] determined to make a point that DREAMers aren't going to give up, we've been the face of the immigration debate and we're going to keep on going."

Before he took action, immigration activists regularly heckled the president at public speeches demanding that he use his authority to limit deportations.

In his speech, Obama took aim at Republicans in House of Representatives, specifically House Speaker John Boehner, who have slammed his immigration move as an abuse of power. The president said he did everything he could to convince them to vote on a bill.

Advertisement

"I told Boehner, I'll wash your car, I'll wash your dog—whatever you need to do, just call the bill," he said. "That's how democracy's supposed to work."

This piece was update at 5:41 p.m. ET to reflect the fact that two men interrupted President Obama.

Jorge Rivas contributed reporting.

Jordan Fabian is Fusion's politics editor, writing about campaigns, Congress, immigration, and more. When he's not working, you can find him at the ice rink or at home with his wife, Melissa.