THE LOOP — While President Barack Obama publicly took the oath of office to begin his second term, crowds of people marched downtown Monday to call on him to "keep his promises" and address immigration reform.
More than one hundred people marched through the Loop Monday to urge President Obama to order a moratorium on deportations. The march culminated in a rally on the Federal Plaza downtown.
Immigration activists, led by Rev. Jose Landaverde of Our Lady of Guadalupe Anglican Mission and the Latino Union of Chicago, called on the president to stop the "aggressive enforcement" of immigration laws in Chicago that they say separate families.
"It makes no sense to be removing people from the country who you say you want to legalize," Landaverde said in a written statement.
Those in the crowd, like Juanita Andersen, said they want the president "to take more meaningful action" on the issue of immigration.
"There's been a lot of political rhetoric about keeping families together and doing something about the immigration issue, but it's just been a lot of talk so far," Andersen said.
President Obama briefly touched on the issue of immigration in his inauguration speech Monday by saying America must find a better way to welcome "striving, hopeful immigrants," according to a transcript of the speech.
During his first term, the president also deferred deportation to certain illegal immigrants who were bought to the U.S. before they were 16 and are now 30 or younger.
But those at the rally say they felt they were promised more significant progress on immigration by President Obama during both the 2008 and 2012 campaign.
Instead, they say the president has continued with business as usual. Under the Obama administration, at least 1.4 million people have been deported, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Despite those numbers, Alfonso Seiva said at Monday's rally that he supported Obama's reelection because he still felt Obama was the better choice over the GOP's Mitt Romney. However, Seiva said he now wants the president to act on his promises during his second term.
"There's no more excuses," Seiva said. "We need to stop this because we lose the families, and it's really sad for the kids."