As immigration reform stays at a standstill in the House, an executive order to push through reform looks more and more likely.
Earlier this month Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (R-Texas), the chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, expressed confidence that a failure by the House of Representatives to take up immigration reform would result in presidential executive action. Caucus comments came after a meeting with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson where immigration law changes were discussed.
President Obama is certainly sympathetic toward the nation’s immigrants—last month he promised a review of his administration’s deportation policy and to enforce laws “more humanely.” With deportation levels hitting the 2 million mark, however, many are critical of the president’s efforts.
In terms of pure politics, the executive order route has its own share of issues. The go-it-alone legislation method would likely alienate Republicans in the House of Representatives, making compromise down the road even less likely. The president has already used executive order authority to temporarily halt the deportation of immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.
“The more executive orders this president does, the more difficult it is,” said Rep. Jeff Denham, a House Republican.
Rep. Hinojosa of the Hispanic caucus, however, is putting more stock in government agencies than in presidential powers. Of his meeting with DHS Secretary Johnson, Hinojosa said, Johnson “assured us he is thoroughly reviewing the department’s enforcement policies. He understands the impact these laws have on families.”