Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa introduces Vice President Joe… (John Raoux / Associated…)
WASHINGTON -- Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa applauded President Obama for "doing what's right by our values" after the administration announced it would halt deportations for some illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, a priority for Latino voters.
"This is the right thing to do. I applaud the president for doing it, and I think it's going to mean a great deal to the many families who live in terror that their kids may get deported through no fault of their own," Villaraigosa, one of the most prominent Latino surrogates for Obama's reelection campaign, said during a conference call with reporters Friday.
"We've said for a long time -- and I hope our colleagues on the other side of the aisle agree -- that this is what we should do given that we have so many of these kids who want to go to college, who are willing to serve in the military, who are willing to give back to this country that has given them so much. So I couldn't be prouder of the president in making this decision."
Villaraigosa, who is attending a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which he now chairs, said it is a position that has broad support from the bipartisan group of city leaders.
"While this is just a grant of deferred action, it is certainly something that we welcome," he said.
The mayor would not comment on what potential political benefits the president might reap from the policy change, nor would he address any pressure on the administration to change course, as it has now done.