Pres. Obama in Chicago to talk immigration policies

CHICAGO (WLS) -- President Barack Obama made a visit to Chicago Tuesday to promote his executive order for immigration reform.

The president spoke at the Copernicus Center on the Northwest Side, where he was confronted by a couple of hecklers in the audience, who were critical of the deportations currently taking place.

"Nobody's removing you," Obama told the hecklers. "I've heard you, but you've got to listen to me, too."

Obama heckled in Chicago during immigration speech

The president came to Chicago to pitch his executive order on immigration, but for hundreds of people who braved the cold and stood line to get inside, they were already sold.

While the Copernicus Center was built by Polish immigrants, the audience inside were from many different nationalities. Obama focused on how allowing more than four million people to stay in the United States and work without fear of deportation will help the economy. The president specifically talked about immigrant-owned businesses.

The executive order has been met with strong opposition from Republicans, some accusing the president of being above the law and trying sabotage any attempt at bipartisan immigration reform.

"Unfortunately, immigration law in this country is going to continue to be a muddled self-inflicting mess," said conservative radio host Dan Proft.

But, at the Copernicus Center there is hope that Obama's action is the beginning of a long-term path to citizenship.

"It doesn't matter what your politics are," said Copernicus Center President Hubert Cioromski. "I think the immigration law has been played with way too long."

The executive order will not go into effect for another six months. The hope for Obama is that Congress would come up with something during that time, but that is not likely to happen.

Chicago's new archbishop also met with President Obama regarding the potential role of the church in the president's executive order to halt deportations.

"Hopefully the church can be a partner in helping people take advantage of this great gift of the executive order," said Archbishop Blase Cupich.

The president's meeting with the archbishop was followed by a round-table discussion on immigration with other city leaders.

Copyright © 2019 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.