Immigration Reform: Obama Backs Down on Deportation Changes

As the weather heats up, elected officials in Washington D.C. are trying to keep cool heads as President Barak Obama, immigration leaders and House Republicans are all touting optimism around hopes of bipartisan passage of immigration reform by end of summer.

Although President Obama began exploring unilateral options around U.S. deportation policy in March, last week the president backed off the approach to show good faith as leadership in the House of Representatives have again expressed interest in passing reform legislation.

Several months ago, the president reached out to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for a review of U.S. deportation policy and a list of suggestions on how the administration could act unilaterally to ease the threat of deportation of undocumented immigrants. The move was seen as exasperation over the divisiveness that’s been so prevalent in Congress.

As Speaker John Boehner and House Republicans suggest they support working on the bill, representatives are likewise signaling a wariness toward potential policy changes the president might make. Imposing policy changes, Republicans say, only serves to weaken the trust that the president would enforce any immigration law they might pass.

“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,” a White House official said.

Immigration advocate groups, including the National Immigration Forum and the Service Employees International Union, concurred. A statement released by the groups said, “”We believe the President should move cautiously and give the House Leadership all of the space they may need to bring legislation to the floor for a vote.”