President Barack Obama and Fusion anchor Jorge Ramos went head-to-head on Tuesday over the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants in the years leading up to the president's recent decision to excercise executive action on immigration policy.
The debate heated up when Ramos asked why, if the president believed he had always possessed the authority to use executive powers, he had not done so sooner. The anchor implied that Obama might have flip-flopped on the issue of immigration.
"You always had the legal authority to stop deportations, then why did you deport two million people?" Ramos asked, adding, after Obama protested, that he had "destroyed many families" and that they referred to him as "deporter-in-chief."
"You called me deporter-in-chief," Obama shot back.
The president also accused Ramos of suggesting that there was a "simple" and "quick" solution to the problem -- a charge Ramos denied -- and challenged the anchor to present clearly to his viewers the information regarding immigration policy.
"When you present it in that way, it does a disservice, because it makes the assumption that the political process is one that can easily be moved around, depending on the will of one person and that’s now how things work," Obama said. "So the question I have for you, Jorge, because you’re going to have a big voice, is are you going to do a good job in, now that we’ve taken these actions, making sure that people understand what their opportunities are, how we can take advantage of it, and how we can build to make sure that going forward."
Ramos, who was born in Mexico City and immigrated to the U.S. after coming to the country as a student in 1983, has long been one of the most outspoken supporters of immigration reform in America. This July, as the nation was in the process of deporting thousands of children fleeing violence-stricken countries in Central America, Ramos came to their defense in a powerful speech admonishing GOP leadership. Winner of the 2014 Burton Benjamin Memorial Award for "lifetime achievement in defending press freedom," he has spoken out about the importance for journalists to challenge presidents and "annoy those in power."