Having come under increasing pressure to act on the thorny subject of immigrant deportations the President announced on Thursday that he was considering suspending the process to give the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) time to review its practices.
Speaking during an Oval Office discussion with Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Xavier Becerra (D-CA) and Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX), all of whom are leading members of the CHC (Congressional Hispanic Caucus) President Obama confirmed the move after taking their views into consideration. The President also took the opportunity to confirm that he had ordered DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson to undertake a detailed review.
There appears to be some doubt about when the order for the review was actually given, however. During a meeting with amnesty advocates, just 24 hours after speaking with the CHC members, the President met with amnesty advocates at the White House during which he mentioned that the order had been given several months ago. He revealed that on Secretary Johnson’s first day in the post he asked him to try to find a way of reducing deportations.
All this contradicts the President’s previous claims that he did not have the power to take this course of action alone. On March 13th, during a ‘virtual town hall’ discussion with Spanish language media outlets, President Obama said: “I cannot ignore those laws any more than I could ignore any of the other laws that are on the books.”
The announcement of the deportation review did not satisfy pro-amnesty groups. United We Dream’s Lorella Praeli, summed up their feelings by saying that she believed bold action to halt deportations was required today, not just a review.