President Obama scolded a journalist Tuesday for shouting out a question — at a press conference — about illegal immigration from Central America.
“I appreciate you shouting out a question, since I’m sure there are a lot of colleagues of yours who would like to do the same,” Mr. Obama told the reporter sarcastically.
The president was wrapping up a news conference with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in the White House Rose Garden when the scolding came. By arrangement, Mr. Obama and Mr. Renzi had agreed to take only four or five questions from Italian and American journalists who were selected by the leaders’ staff beforehand.
Mr. Obama was discussing the challenges of illegal immigration when Washington Post reporter David Nakamura, who wasn’t on the pre-approved list of questioners, called out a question for Mr. Obama about his policies on illegal immigration from Central America.
“That’s what I just said, I said on Central America they have increased. Why are you —” Mr. Obama asked with a tone of irritation.
When the reporter persisted, Mr. Obama replied, “Actually, David, they [illegal immigrants] spiked heavily in 2014, went down significantly in 2015, have gone back up this year in part because there’s still desperation in Central America. But they’re still not at the levels they were in 2014.”
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Nearly 409,000 illegal immigrants were nabbed at the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal 2016 — up from about 331,000 a year earlier. Homeland Security officials say the increased arrests also mean an increase in the number that are sneaking by them.
The number of illegal immigrants traveling as families also rose, reaching a record high of 77,674.