Presidential visit brings both protests and praise - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Presidential visit brings both protests and praise

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PHOENIX -

Several protests took place outside the high school while the president spoke. One of those groups is an organization fighting deportation laws. But there were also kind words for our commander-in-chief.

The deportation protest was held to send a message to President Obama, asking him to take a stronger stand against something this group calls a crisis.

But before he even got to Desert Vista High School, President Obama was given a message -- one of thanks.

"The words thank you are not nearly enough to show how grateful I am," reads Tony Valdovino from a letter he wrote to the president.

The letter was handed to the commander-in-chief Tuesday morning by Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton on the tarmac at Sky Harbor.

"I came to the United States when I was 2 years old…"

At 23, Valdovino is now able to work in the U.S. as a result of the Obama administration's "deferred action" initiative.

"It gave us safety for the first time. It didn't give us a license but we have to still continue to fight for that, that's what so beautiful to be in the United States cause you actually get to fight for the things that you want."

Outside Desert Vista High School, where the president spoke, a different message. Protesters chanted in Spanish and held signs that read "secure our borders."

"It's an insult that he is coming to Arizona, avoiding the immigration issue. This is the epicenter of Joe Arpaio, SB1070," said Puente organizer Carlos Garcia.

"My family, myself, as an undocumented student, can be deported at any minute. He's not in there talking about these issues that are going on," said Viri Hernandez.

The group says President Obama has overseen 1.7 million deportations during his time in office, and felt the focus of his visit should have been immigration, not housing.

Valdovino, who knows the struggles well, supports free speech and is working to ensure everyone has it.

"He told us to organize and that's exactly what we have been doing three years now."

Tony Valdovino tells us the president told Mayor Stanton to tell him "you're welcome."

He says he has no relationship with the mayor's office and may have been chosen for his positive work within the community.

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