President Barack Obama (Getty Images)
WASHINGTON (USA TODAY) -- Hispanic voters give President Obama big support, but there is one source of friction: Record numbers of deportations of illegal immigrants.
President Obama defended his deportation record Wednesday in a pair of interviews with Spanish language television networks, and said that is one of the reasons he wants to revamp the system through "comprehensive immigration reform."
Asked by Univision about the deportation of 184,000 "non-criminals" in 2012, President Obama said: "I'm not a king. I am the head of the executive branch of government. I'm required to follow the law. And that's what we've done."
President Obama, who received 71% of the Hispanic vote in the 2012 election, said he has asked his government to take people's "humanity" into account.
On Telemundo, President Obama said he makes no apologies for enforcing the law, and it has contributed to a major drop in illegal crossings.
"What we've seen is that the people who are being deported, the vast majority of them now are criminals," President Obama said. "That did not used to be the case. But there are still obviously gonna be people who get caught up in the system."
The president has proposed an immigration plan that would continue to beef up border security, while providing a pathway to citizenship
Some deportation stories are "heart breaking," President Obama told Telemundo, and "that's why we're pushing for comprehensive immigration reform."