House Republicans get chance to grill administration on immigration enforcement
May 28th, 2014
03:03 PM ET
6 months ago

House Republicans get chance to grill administration on immigration enforcement

Washington (CNN) - Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is expected to be grilled on the administration¹s immigration enforcement policies when he testifies Thursday before the House Judiciary Committee.

This comes as the political battle over immigration reform heats up.

As they push House Republican leaders to vote on immigration reform, warning them there will be a political cost for inaction, some leaders of Latino groups also expressed disappointment with the Obama Administration for delaying possible changes in its deportation policies.

The Department of Homeland Security had been weighing possibly relaxing some of its deportation guidelines and was expected to unveil some recommendations in the coming weeks.

“This administration has made a calculus,” Jose Calderon, president of the Hispanic Federation, said on a conference call with reporters on Wednesday.

“On the part of the community there is a great deal of frustration.”

He and other leaders would like to see a change in deportation policy, saying families are being broken up and that there should be a humane approach.

President Barack Obama asked Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson not to release any results from his ongoing review now but to continue working on it through the summer, a White House official said Tuesday evening.

“(Obama) believes there’s a window for the House to get immigration reform done this summer, and he asked the Secretary to continue working on his review until that window has passed. There’s a bipartisan consensus. It’s time for them to act and the President didn’t want the discussion of the secretary’s review to interfere with the possibility of action in the House,” the official said.

Maria Teresa Kumar, president and CEO of Voto Latino, told reporters "by not acting" families will continue to be torn apart and she wants to “ensure the families get the relief.”

Hector Sanchez, executive director of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, said the deportations issue “requires immediate attention.”

The AFL-CIO weighed in late Wednesday.

“We face a grave moral crisis on immigration reform. Our long-held belief is that every possible step that could be taken should be taken with great urgency. We reiterate our urgent plea that all political leaders, in both branches, act without delay to end the deportation crisis,” AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka said in a statement.

The AFL-CIO is pushing the government to give work authorization to those illegal immigrants who would be low priorities for deportation or eligible for prosecutorial discretion and calling on Republican leaders to “stop catering to extremists” and schedule a vote on an immigration overhaul bill.

Some Democratic congressional leaders used the White House’s action to try to put more pressure on the House Republican leadership.

“Once again the President has shown a willingness to work with Republicans to get immigration reform done. The House Republicans are now out of excuses not to pass immigration reform, and the ball is in their court. Supporters of reform have bent over backwards to give the House space to act, and now it’s time for them to do so,” Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, said in a statement.

Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, the no. 2 House Democrat, told reporters “I think the President is trying to give the Speaker a little more space. I think he ought not give any more space than August 1, and I think he ought to determine, along with Secretary Johnson, what can be done at that point.”

Reacting to the White House decision on its immigration review, Michael Steel, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, said “Enforcing the law as written isn’t a ‘concession’ – it is the President’s solemn responsibility. Now isn’t the time to be playing politics with immigration enforcement or our national security.”

Boehner has said the House will not take up one comprehensive immigration reform bill similar to the one passed by the Senate last year which included a path to citizenship for those in the country illegally. He said he wants to see reform done in more of a piecemeal fashion.

While Boehner said last week “there is nobody more interested in fixing this problem than I am,” many conservatives in his party are fighting any attempts at taking up the issue especially because the party is divided on how to deal with the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States.

An idea of just how contentious the issue is for House Republicans can be seen in the blocking last week of a modest bill by Rep. Jeff Denham, R-California, which would have given green cards to those who came to the United States illegally as children and who later served in the military.

While some of the leaders of a coalition of six Latino groups on Wednesday clearly were not pleased with the White House delaying any changes regarding deportations, the Latino activists said they were more upset with Republican leaders for not pushing harder for immigration reform. The groups released report cards giving a failing grade to a majority of House Republicans for their actions on immigration reform and went to Capitol Hill to deliver them in person.

“The House of Representatives is failing (the Latino community),” said the Hispanic Federation’s Jose Calderon. “The time to act is now.”

Warning that members of the Latino community will vote against those who don’t embrace change, “our community does not forget,” said Ben Monterroso, executive director of Mi Familia Vota Education Fund.

Homeland Security Secretary Johnson is expected to be grilled on the administration’s immigration enforcement when he testifies Thursday before the House Judiciary Committee.

CNN Senior Producer Deirdre Walsh and Senior White House Correspondent Jim Acosta contributed to this story.


Filed under: Immigration • Latinos • Obama administration • President Obama
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    Wake up Hispanics... Democrats are using you like they use the black community. If they "fix" the problem, they won't be able to jerk you around and lie to you come election time.

    May 28, 2014 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  2. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Then support the GOP and see where that gets you! He's the POTUS not a damn King!

    May 28, 2014 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  3. Donna

    Democrats don't know which master to follow. Help the criminal illegals or listen to the unions. I'm sure they will play both sides against the middle and game them both.

    May 28, 2014 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  4. rla

    To my latino friends– Do you still not understand ILLEGAL nor do you understand that you are asking CITIZENS to support you by taking from their families and last but not least do you not understand how tired we are of your begging, threatining and demeaning citizens in an attempt to guilt us into doing a very wrong thing!

    May 28, 2014 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  5. smith

    Latino groups- They don`t care about you!(unless your rich) The parties only care about your vote. Welcome to the US.

    May 28, 2014 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  6. Gunderson

    Around and Around and Around We Go, Where We stop, Nobody Know.
    If you are non-citizen reading this and want to become citizen, return to your own country and put in your application! That is the shortest path, the only path there is. Resorting to Blackmail is a very bad idea! With all the other problems the country has giving Amnesty is about as far as Pluto in getting passed!

    May 28, 2014 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  7. Rick McDaniel

    There can be NO changes, until the flow across the border, is stopped........for good.

    May 28, 2014 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  8. Gurgyl

    Ask congress. The most horrible congress. In 2016, if you love democracy, go vote with I.d, kick all these congress guys butts. Good luck with it. God bless!!!!!

    May 28, 2014 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  9. Thomas

    @Donna
    Democrats don't know which master to follow. Help the criminal illegals or listen to the unions. I'm sure they will play both sides against the middle and game them both.

    ====

    Similar to Karl Rove under GW Bush ?

    VIVA BUSH !

    May 28, 2014 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  10. Reggie53

    What the heck these illegals are demanding? What gives them the right to demand anything seeing that they are here illegally? We should put a stop to this nonsense!!!! They should not be able to demand anything...what they should be told is that they have to leave the country and apply the legal way and then their situation will be considered. They should also be penalized in this procedure for 1 year before their application is reviewed and considered. They should be taught a lesson....learn to wait in line and apply the legal way.....do not try to jump the line!!!

    May 28, 2014 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    left side of the conservative mouth: "Wake up Hispanics... Democrats are using you like they use the black community. If they "fix" the problem, they won't be able to jerk you around and lie to you come election time."

    Right side of the conservative mouth: "Dems just want to fix it to buy more votes."

    Your cognitive dissonance is showing...AGAIN.

    May 28, 2014 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  12. The Real Tom Paine

    Right Donna, and the the GOP has no puppet masters? Oh, and Gundy; perhaps if you actually spent some time in the real world instead of your little paranoid echo-bubble, where a century of liberal rule has produced such terrible things like the weekend, maybe you would know that its your nativist party, with all their xenophobia, that has consistently blocked attempts to allow more legal immigration into the US.

    May 28, 2014 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  13. Chris-E...al

    Jump the border work for cash pay n0 tax get foodstamps and free heathcare . Now turn that around and see what happens . ( Hint Mexican jail ) .

    May 28, 2014 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  14. Illegalsuck

    Obummer is pandering, letting the illegals dictate his immigration policy. This guy just can't think for himself. Americans do not believe in giving illegals amnesty, We have all the immigration laws we need, they just need to be vigorously enforced. The law does not specify "separating families" so that is a non-issue.

    May 28, 2014 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  15. Thomas Harold Richards

    Real headline: Latio Groups waiting for Amnesty for their family and relatives that are in the country ILLEGALLY.

    If they had followed proper immigration laws, they would not have any problems.

    May 28, 2014 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  16. rla

    Do the Latinos ever think what they are doing to the rule of law in this country (something I am sure they appreciate), How about the schools and hospitals that they cause to tank (along with citizens kids), how about the money hard working citizens need to pay in taxes to support all the goodies you get like health care, free lawyers and schhooling??? Nope this is all about making me feel guilty- NO MORE! Fix the border and kick out at least half the freeloaders!

    May 28, 2014 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |