Gutierrez: Obama Ready to Halt Deportations With Executive Orders
Posted at 1:48 p.m. on April 4
(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus has given the White House six pages of recommendations on how the Obama administration might proceed with executive orders to curb deportations of illegal immigrants.
Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez, D-Ill., a leading advocate for rewriting the nation’s immigration laws on Capitol Hill, told reporters during a conference call Friday that the CHC had “adopted a very strong memo” of suggestions the day before in advance of a scheduled meeting next Wednesday with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.
“It includes many, many of the prosecutorial discretion initiatives that we have presented to the president in the past,” Gutiérrez said. “Some of it isn’t new. Some parts of it are new. It’s very broad.”
The Washington Post and a handful of other news outlets have already obtained and published draft versions of the suggestions, which show that the CHC wants the administration to use as a basis for further action its 2012 executive order deferring deportations of so-called DREAMers — young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. The nickname is based on the stalled DREAM Act.
Gutierrez also reiterated a message he delivered to House Republicans on the chamber floor earlier this week: If GOP leaders do not move on immigration overhaul legislation before the July 4 recess, expect Barack Obama to bypass Congress to curb the vast number of deportations that have occurred during his tenure as president.
“If we don’t see a bill moving forward and concrete steps being taken … they can watch the president … pick up his pen,” Gutierrez said on the call. “It’s one or the other. I see it coming.”
Republicans have already chafed considerably under Obama’s now-infamous “pen and phone” strategy, moving two bills next week aimed at stopping his “imperial presidency.”
The CHC meeting with Johnson next week comes after the caucus was prepared a few weeks ago to adopt a strongly-worded resolution condemning the president for the deportations that have occurred under his watch. To avert the CHC taking that vote, Obama summoned Gutierrez, CHC Chairman Rubén Hinojosa, D-Texas, and Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra of California to the White House and pledged to work with members to revisit his deportation policies.
At the time, Becerra said he was confident in the president’s commitment to moving forward.
“The president has made it clear: He is ready to take a look at how we continue to make this work better,” he told reporters. “He himself said, ‘You can tell folks that you talk to’ — meaning a lot of these families — ‘the heartbreak is felt here in the Oval Office.’”