Caucus member Luis Gutierrez said, he is giving him hope that President Barak Obama will use his power and bypass Congress to stop the record number of deportations processed during his administration.
Obama met with Gutierrez and two other members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. The meeting resulted in an announcement that Obama will be directing his homeland security chief to review America's deportation program with the goal of offering more humane ways to enforce the law.
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra of California, also a member of the Caucus, expressed unwavering confidence in the president’s newfound determination to explore options for re-examining how to work within the confines of the law to prevent deportations that break up families.
"It was a great conversation. It reestablished a dialogue," said Becerra. "We made abundantly clear to the president the kind of pain and the kind of demand which exists throughout the immigrant communities of this nation for a more humane process when it comes to deportation, the breaking up of families, and the children left without parents." "He wasn’t defensive. He wasn’t combative," Gutierrez explained. "He has been in the past, when we’ve raised this issue with him. He spoke to us just how broken his heart is to see this deportation. How he has worked within the confines of the law to alleviate, and that the only way he can fix it in a broad meaningful way is for Congress to act." Gutierrez said he sensed Obama shifted his tone away from saying there is 'nothing more he can do' on immigration reform.
"I heard a President of the United States that said, 'look this is what I can do,' I’m not going to say there is nothing that I can do'," said Gutierrez. The Illinois Democrat said he and other Latino lawmakers will meet with Homeland Security Chief Jeh Johnson in about two weeks. Here they will present their 'menu options' or recommendations to help alleviate the deportation problem.
One of those options, Gutierrez said, includes the possibly of expanding DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which provides young undocumented immigrants a two-year work permit and a temporary stay from deportation. He then provided a warning to House Republicans, who have not acted on immigration reform.
"If there is no comprehensive immigration reform, the Republican Party as we know it will cease to exist on a national level," he said. "They'll never be a national party again, the Hispanic community, the immigrant community won't forgive them."