White House shares 'frustration' on lack of immigration reform

The White House said it shares the "frustration" of Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), who on Wednesday commented he had given up on waiting for House Republicans to move on immigration reform legislation.

"We've certainly been disappointed that a legitimate bipartisan compromise that passed through the Senate one year ago has been blocked repeatedly by House Republicans," press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.

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"I certainly would agree with the frustration that Congressman Guttierez has expressed, that we have within grasp a solution to a pretty persistent problem and a fix to a system that just about everybody agrees is broken, within reach," he continued.

Gutierrez's comments suggest Democratic hopes for a bipartisan immigration deal are fraying. The Illinois lawmaker had long said he was optimistic Republicans could act, but on Wednesday stated the GOP had "been given ample time and space to craft legislation" but "failed."

"Your chance to play a role in how immigration and deportation policies are carried out this year is over," Gutierrez said in a floor speech, adding that it was now up to the president to take actions to end deportations.

Earnest said that an administrative review of deportation procedures should be considered "ongoing," despite the White House saying just weeks ago it was putting the effort on pause to give Republicans a window to act on legislation.

And Earnest hinted that the review could include an expansion of the deferred action program that enables children who came to the country illegally to remain.

"This is the nature of the question that [Homeland Security] Secretary [Jeh] Johnson is taking a look at right now, that he is evaluating the options that are available to the president in terms of any sort of executive action that might be at the president's disposal to try to address some of the more pressing problems that are created by our broken immigration system," Earnest said.

Still, Earnest stopped short of making any firm commitments as to what steps the president might take.

"I'm not prepared at this point to make any grand pronouncements from here about what comes next other than to say that this is an ongoing process, and that the frustration that is felt by people all across the country who suppose this legislation is shared by the president and just about everybody who works here at the White House."

Friday will mark the one-year anniversary of the bipartisan immigration bill passing the Senate, and Democrats are expected to use the anniversary to bash House Republicans for not having moved legislation.