President Barack Obama has launched an internal review on how he can provide additional leniency to illegal aliens inside the United States of America, the White House announced on Thursday evening.
Obama “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,” the White House said in a Thursday press release.
Obama’s announcement that he would seek to grant more executive amnesty to illegal aliens came after he met with three Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) members on Thursday — CHC chairman Rep. Ruben Hinojosa and Reps. Luis Gutierrez and Xavier Becerra. Hispanic lawmakers have complained vociferously of late about the number of deportations executed by the Obama administration.
“The president emphasized his deep concern about the pain too many families feel from the separation that comes from our broken immigration system,” the White House said in its readout from the meeting.
A Senate GOP aide told Breitbart News that these concerns are overblown because about two-thirds of what the amnesty advocacy community is considering deportations are actually removals of people caught as they were trying to cross the border. Johnson recently admitted as such in a congressional hearing.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)–the law enforcement agency that handles deportations from the nation’s interior–reports that 98 percent of 2013 deportations were of convicted criminals, people who just crossed the border, or people who illegally re-entered the U.S. after being deported before.
President Obama kicked off 2014 by asserting his executive powers, infamously saying he has a pen and a phone that he plans to use if Congress does not grant him his agenda. For the last more than a year since the 2012 presidential election, President Obama has pressured Congress to grant amnesty to illegal aliens. The White House worked with the Senate’s bipartisan “Gang of Eight” to write their immigration bill, which passed the Senate but has remained stalled since. It has also tried to pressure the House to move on immigration, and after a recent meeting with the president, Speaker John Boehner said the issue they agreed on most was immigration.
Even so, the majority of the House GOP conference has vocally stood up against granting legal status to illegal aliens, and massively increasing legal immigration, during this extended period of high unemployment in America. An estimated 50.5 million working age Americans are either officially unemployed by Department of Labor standard definitions or not working, but want to work, according to a recent report from the Center for Immigration Studies.
In summer 2012, Obama announced–in the White House Rose Garden alongside then Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano–the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which granted executive amnesty to so-called DREAMer illegal alien minors.
Additional executive action now would likely infuriate House Republicans–even those who support amnesty. For instance, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor–who supports granting legal status to illegal aliens–criticized the administration’s non-enforcement of immigration laws in an addendum to a 2012 report he released on Thursday.
“This is another example of President Obama abusing his authority and unilaterally refusing to enforce the immigration laws by directing officials to stop removing broad categories of unlawful immigrants,” Cantor wrote about one such instance in August 2013 of Obama using executive authority to aid illegal aliens.