President Obama called for a review of the administration’s deportation policies to see how it can be done "more humanely," the White House said Thursday.
During a meeting with top Hispanic lawmakers, Obama asked Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson to conduct an inventory of the Department’s current practices while adhering to the law.
“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 a readout of the meeting.
The move comes as a number of liberal Democrats have pressured Obama to halt all deportations, while reform stalls in Congress. Obama has said he doesn't have the power to act unilaterally but has moved to ease deportations for some children brought into the U.S. illegally.
The administration in 2012 launched a program to halt deportations for qualified illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, but many Democrats and immigrant rights advocates want the program expanded to include a broader swath of beneficiaries.
Earlier this month, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) criticized the administration's enforcement of immigration law and urged the president to halt "needless deportations that are splitting apart our families and communities."
On Thursday, Obama reiterated to Reps. Xavier Becerra (Calif.), Luis Gutiérrez (Ill.) and Rubén Hinojosa (Texas) his "strong desire to work together" to pass bipartisan reform in the face of staunch GOP opposition.