The New York Times reported that Labor, Latino and immigrant advocate groups called on President Obama on Monday to suspend deportations of illegal immigrants who could be eligible for a pathway to citizenship under a bipartisan bill to overhaul the immigration system that is under consideration in the Senate.
Among the organizations demanding that the White House halt most removals were the A.F.L.-C.I.O., the country’s largest federation of labor unions; the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, or Maldef, a Latino civil rights group; the National Day Laborer Organizing Network; and United We Dream, a national group representing young illegal immigrants. They said Mr. Obama should act immediately, even before Congress votes on the bill.
They based their demand on an enthusiastically upbeat analysis of the bill’s prospects for passage.
“Immigration reform has unstoppable momentum,” said Ana Avendaño, director of immigration for the A.F.L.-C.I.O. “For the A.F.L., this bill is not fragile. It is supported by a broad coalition.”
While Latino and labor groups have long expressed anger at Mr. Obama over the more than 1.6 million deportations that have taken place under his administration, the support of the A.F.L.-C.I.O. for a suspension of deportations added new clout to their demands.
The groups, which generally support the Senate bill, said that thousands of immigrants who would most likely gain legal status under its terms were being expelled and separated from their families in the United States while Congress deliberates.
“It’s a simple matter of fairness and justice,” said Thomas A. Saenz, president of Maldef. “It makes no sense to deport those who would be eligible for that relief.”
This week, the Senate Judiciary Committee will continue to consider some 300 proposed amendments to the bill, including dozens offered by opponents hoping to undermine it. In an often tense session on Thursday, senators supporting the bill fended off amendments that might have crippled it. The legislation includes a 13-year pathway to citizenship for an estimated 11 million immigrants here illegally.
The eight sponsors of the bill are predicting a hard fight to guide it through the thicket of amendments while maintaining bipartisan support in the fractious Senate. The measure appears to face even more resistance in the House of Representatives.
But the immigrant advocates said Mr. Obama could help the bill by taking a more forceful role, and argued that a halt to deportations would unleash a surge of popular support for the measure. White House officials have said the president is holding back to allow the senators who wrote the bill — including Senators Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, and Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York — to manage the delicate voting on the amendments.
On the advocates’ midday call with reporters, Yvette Martinez, who identified herself as a United States citizen from Springfield, Mass., said that her husband, Roger, had been deported to Honduras last week after a traffic stop. Ms. Martinez said her husband had no criminal record and would most likely have been eligible for legal status under the bill.
She said her 15-year-old son, also a United States citizen, was distraught about his stepfather’s expulsion. “I want to get my husband back,” she said. “I cry, my son cries, my family cries.”