Facing increasing pressure from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) to stop deportations, President Obama announced DHS will examine whether immigration enforcement can be conducted “more humanely within the confines of the law.” The announcement came after a White House meeting between Obama and Caucus members, who had threatened to introduce a resolution demanding action.
The White House issued this statement after the meeting:
“The President met with Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairman Ruben Hinojosa, CHC Immigration Task Force Chair Luis Gutierrez, and Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus Xavier Becerra in the Oval Office this evening. The discussion focused on their mutual efforts to pass commonsense immigration reform legislation through the House of Representatives this year. The President emphasized his deep concern about the pain too many families feel from the separation that comes from our broken immigration system. He told the members that he has asked Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson to do an inventory of the Department’s current practices to see how it can conduct enforcement more humanely within the confines of the law.”
It is not clear what policy changes the inventory will produce but Johnson will likely seek executive amnesty options for ignoring immigration violations, such as the Administration’s prosecutorial discretion policies, or for creating new legalization possibilities, as implemented under the new parole-in-place policy for military families.
CHC members today said they will not introduce a resolution on deportations because the president’s review accomplishes their goal. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard said, “The bottom line is that the resolution was so that we could get some action. And we got the meeting with the president, he’s going to be working with us, so we’ve met that goal.” Rep. Gutierrez said the DHS review starts "a new dialogue" with the White House that he hopes will dramatically slow deportations.
The CHC was initially considering a resolution that decried the Administration’s deportation record, but illegal-alien activists complained the approach was too weak. The Caucus drafted a stronger resolution but the White House asked to postpone its introduction and set up yesterday’s meeting.
The resolution would have been an embarrassment for the White House, which has been pointing to its deportation record as evidence that it can be trusted to enforce a new “comprehensive immigration reform” law.
The DHS review appears to have mollified the CHC for now even though their concerns about “record deportations” are unwarranted. Just yesterday, DHS Secretary Johnson admitted in congressional testimony that deportation numbers are artificially inflated by the inclusion of border apprehensions. Research shows deportations from the interior have actually declined 40 percent since Obama took office.
In a statement provided to Breitbart, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., responded Obama’s announcement saying the president should care more about whether his actions are hurting Americans. “It is astonishing that the President would order an ‘enforcement review’ not for the purposes of repairing enforcement but weakening it further,” Sessions said. He said the Administration’s refusal to enforce the nation’s interior immigration laws hurts the wages and employment opportunities for American workers.
“According to ICE’s own published statistics, the vast majority of those removed from the country have been convicted of a crime or involved with a serious crime,” Sessions said. “Illegal immigrants in the U.S. who don’t meet the Administration’s ‘priorities’—even if they come into contact with immigration enforcement—are largely exempt from federal immigration law. And approximately two-thirds of removals last year were in fact not deportations at all but were instead of apprehensions of those interdicted crossing the border…This latest action further demonstrates that the Administration cannot be trusted to enforce any immigration plan from Congress.”
Updated: Fri, Mar 14th 2014 @ 3:25pm EDT