Gutiérrez: Obama Has 'Responsibility' to Halt Deportations

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President Obama has a “responsibility” to act to reduce deportations, Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) said Thursday.

“I think the president can do more and I think he has the responsibility to do more,” the congressman, who has been critical of the administration’s deportation policies, told Fusion’s Jorge Ramos.

Immigration could prove to be a useful election-year issue for Democrats, but Gutiérrez said that doesn’t mean the president should avoid using his executive power to keep many undocumented immigrants from being sent back to their home country.

“Democrats think all they need to do is to simply blame Republicans. You know what? We control the White House and we control the deportation apparatus,” he said. “We have a responsibility to act.”

Advocates have pressured Obama to take executive action to halt deportations in the absence of an immigration reform bill that’s passed by Congress. The Illinois lawmakers and 27 other House Democrats asked the president in a letter last month to suspend deportations.

Despite his call, Gutiérrez says he’s still optimistic that Democrats and Republicans in Congress can reach an agreement on legalizing undocumented immigrants.

“I’m going to strive to get millions of people a pathway to citizenship,” he said. “I am going to strive to legalize everyone, even those that may not have a pathway to citizenship today, because inevitably, they will have one. And you know what, stop the deportations. I think we can accomplish those goals.”

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Immigration Reform is a heated political issue that we view from all angles in the hope of getting politicians to address those impacted by the decisions they make.

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Immigration Reform

Obama Will Grant Relief to Undocumented Immigrants. That's No Cause for Celebration.

He could, for example, “eliminate ‘non-criminal re-entrants and immigration fugitives’ as a priority category for deportation,” as ex-Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director John Sandweg suggested in a recent op-ed for The Los Angeles Times.