Local pastor wants to see immigration reform now

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

TEMPE, Ariz. -- It appears any movement on immigration reform will have to wait even longer.

The White House said there won't be any executive action until after the midterm elections in November, and that has one local activist fired up.

President Obama has been considering moves to allow illegal immigrants to remain in the country on work visas as well as expanding a deferred deportation program for children of immigrants.

The administration said it wants take the issue out of the political arena.

As of late last week, the president said he wouldn't delay immigration action even in the face of Republican threats of a government shutdown.

House Speaker John Boehner took the opportunity to blast Obama for even considering executive action.

He issued a statement saying, in part, "There is never a 'right' time for the president to declare amnesty by executive action ... the decision ... smacks of raw politics."

Immigration activists have long been calling on Obama to do something about immigration reform.

The Senate passed an immigration bill last year, but it went nowhere in the House.

In the Valley, a pastor is offering sanctuary to an undocumented immigrant who is facing deportation.

The Rev. Eric Ledermann from a Presbyterian church in Tempe is not happy about that decision at all.

The University Presbyterian Church is where Luis Lopez has been seeking refuge.

Lopez came to the United States when he was 16 years old from Guatemala.

He said he came here to escape gang violence, but he has been in deportation proceedings since a traffic incident.

He has a family in the U.S. and got sanctuary at this church to avoid deportation.

He has been asking immigration officials to grant him deferred action, and Obama's announcement saying immigration action will be delayed until after the November congressional elections could mean Lopez may have to stay at the church a whole lot longer than he expected.

Ledermann wants to see immigration reform now, and he doesn't believe the government should be in the business of breaking up families.

"I am so angry, and he has made so many promises to the Latino community, to my neighbors,” said Ledermann. “These are my neighbors, and I am called by God to love my neighbors, and my president is saying no. ... I do not speak for my whole congregation, but I am livid."

Ledermann said Lopez meets ICE's own guidelines for leniency.

He said Lopez has no criminal background, came here as a child, and has a wife who is a legal resident.


Obama defends decision to delay immigration action

Tempe church provides sanctuary for undocumented immigrant