By Steve Holland
CHICAGO (Reuters) - President Barack Obama was interrupted several times by hecklers during a speech on his immigration policy on Tuesday, and their complaint was that his plan did not go far enough in protecting illegal immigrants from deportation.
At least four hecklers, all of them women, yelled at the president at the Copernicus Center where he had gone to promote his go-it-alone immigration plan that will remove the threat of deportation for up to 4.7 million illegal immigrants.
Obama had gone to a Polish neighborhood to stress that the immigration problem in the United States is not restricted to Latinos and that there are people from around the world who are in the country illegally, such as Poles and Irish.
Obama was in mid-speech when a woman shouted about his deportation policies. Under the Obama administration, thousands of people in the country illegally have been deported, an issue frequently raised with the president by pro-immigrant advocates.
"OK, it's good to be back in Chicago," Obama said in reply to the hecklers. The president is from Chicago.
"But I'm not going to be able to have a conversation with each of you separately. There are other ways of engaging. Just sit down.... I know people are passionate about this. But be respectful of people who are here."
He said there have been times when families have been broken apart by deportation, and that it bothers him. He said the ultimate answer is for Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill.
(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)