Obama pressed to halt deportations as immigration debated

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Last year, after denying for three years that he had the authority to halt deportations for broad categories of people, Mr. Obama reversed himself and said he would halt deportations for young people who would have qualified for the Dream Act — even though the Dream Act never passed.

Part of the groups’ goal is to try to prevent the Senate bill from becoming tougher on illegal immigrants if and when it gets to the Republican-controlled House. Immigration rights advocates hope to lock in the more lenient standards for legalization by pushing for the administration to begin using them now.

“It’s dangerous to treat the bill as fragile because it’s not fragile. By treating it as fragile, it really gives the nativists power,” said Ana Avendano, who works on immigration issues for the AFL-CIO, an umbrella group for labor unions which has become a major advocate for passing a bill this year.

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