President Obama Announces Review of Mass Deportation Program
The White House announced Thursday that President Barack Obama plans to conduct a review of deportation practices for undocumented immigrants.
The announcement was made following a meeting between the President and three members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Obama said he had directed Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to review immigration policies in order to make deportation enforcement “more humanely within the confines of the law.”
This move comes after a great deal of pressure from Democrats and the Latino community to implement immigration reform. Many advocates for reform wanted an expansion of Obama’s 2012 executive decision to halt deportations of children who had entered the country without documentation, hoping to extend the protection to parents as well. Yet, as recently as last week, the President claimed to have his hands tied.
“Since I ran for president, I’ve pushed for comprehensive immigration reform, and I will continue to push,” said Obama at a Q&A for Telemundo and Univision. “I am the champion-in-chief of comprehensive immigration reform. But until Congress passes new laws, I am constrained in what I am able to do.”
The White House has been hesitant to pursue unilateral action on deportations as it would influence the Republican led House of Representatives to delay passing any sort of immigration reform. Senate passed a bipartisan bill on immigration reform last year, but Republican lawmakers have blocked any attempts at passing the law.
”There’s no doubt we have an immigration system that is failing families and our economy, but until it is reformed through the democratic process, the president is obligated to enforce the laws we have,” said a spokesman for Republican Speaker John Boehner. ”Failing to do so would damage-perhaps beyond repair-our ability to build the trust necessary to enact real immigration reform.”
The Latino community has grown increasingly frustrated with Obama’s lack of action on trying to push for reform. The Obama administration is responsible for over 2 million deportations, deporting at a higher rate than the Bush administration.
Although the White House did not give a clear timeline for when the review would be completed, many believe this is a good step toward true immigration reform. Others, however, are more skeptical.
“Relief delayed is relief denied,” said Pablo Alvarado, director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network and advocate for reform of deportation policies. “The president has no excuse to continue his unjust deportation policy, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus should not delay joining what is now a consensus position that the president can and should suspend deportations.”
- Latin Post