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Rally at McCain’s office decries House vote against Obama immigration actions

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Maria Olague is on the waiting list for a federal deferred action program allowing immigrant parents to remain in the U.S. legally. She has children who qualified for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Executive orders by President Barack Obama created both programs.

On Friday, she and other members of the advocacy group Promise Arizona were outside Sen. John McCain’s office here to register their objection to the U.S. House of Representatives voting to overturn Obama’s actions on immigration, including Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), which Olague has applied for.

“We do not want this action or DAPA to be eliminated because we have a lot of faith in Sen. John McCain because he was one of the first to try and initiate immigration reform,” Olague said in Spanish.

After the Republican-controlled House voted Wednesday to reverse Obama’s executive actions, McCain, who has advocated in the past for legislation to reform immigration, issued a statement saying he applauded the move.

“Today, Congress has a responsibility to respond and push back on his illegal power grab,” the statement said. “Immigration is clearly an issue that must be debated and decided by the representatives of the people, not by executive fiat.”

A handful of people participated in Friday’s protest. But Tony Navarrete, an organizer for Promise Arizona, said he and others delivered a message to McCain’s office.

“We came here alone today with our families and members of the communities and advocates, but there is a huge segment of Arizona that stands behind immigration reform, that stands behind our undocumented families,” Navarrete said.

Petra Falcon, founder of Promise Arizona, said there needs to be a permanent solution.

“We in the community and immigrant families need a plan from the senators that says, “OK, we are going to move forward legislation rather than just getting blocks,” she said.

McCain wasn’t at the office Friday. A man who answered a phone there referred a reporter to McCain’s statement posted after the House vote on Wednesday.

In issuing his executive actions on immigration late last year, Obama criticized the lack of action by Congress and challenged lawmakers to send him a bill.

Olague said it’s important to stand up for executive actions by the president that have benefited her family.

“I am a volunteer teacher,” she said. “I do this from the goodness of my heart and even though I do not have enough funds coming in at my home at the moment, I feel that with DAPA I will greatly benefit from it.”