By Mike Lillis - 03/14/14 12:28 PM EDT
Leaders of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) will not pursue a resolution calling on President Obama to scale back deportations.
CHC members and other immigrant rights advocates, long-critical of the Obama administration's aggressive position on deportations, had been eyeing a resolution officially urging the president to soften those policies for the sake of keeping immigrant families together.
“The bottom line is that the resolution was so that we could get some action,” Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) said Friday during a press briefing in the Capitol. “And we got the meeting with the president, he’s going to be working with us, so we’ve met that goal. So there’s really at this point no need for the resolution. We’ve gotten at this point the attention that we needed.”
Obama on Thursday met at the White House with Reps. Xavier Becerra (Calif.), Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and Ruben Hinojosa (D-Texas) — all leaders of the CHC — to discuss the issue of immigration reform, particularly the administration's deportation policies.
The White House announced afterward that Obama has instructed Jeh Johnson, head of the Department of Homeland Security, "to do an inventory of the Department’s current practices to see how it can conduct enforcement more humanely within the confines of the law."
The announcement was praised by the CHC and others immigration reformers, with Gutierrez — among the most ardent critics of Obama's deportation policies — crediting advocates for Obama's change of heart.
“It is clear that the pleas from the community got through to the president," Gutierrez said in a statement. “This began a new dialogue between the CHC and the White House that had been dormant for too long."
Becerra told reporters on Friday that CHC members will meet with Johnson as part of that review to "see if there are ways to try to diminish the harsh treatment many immigration families are feeling."
Thursday's White House meeting also focused on the Democrats' efforts to force reluctant GOP leaders to bring an immigration reform bill to the House floor this year. Becerra said Obama is making the issue his top domestic priority.
"Yesterday, the president made very, very clear, his top priority is to get immigration reform done," Becerra said. "He's been trying for more than five years. But he made it very clear, if he could get immigration done he would feel like he had done most of the major accomplishments that he set for himself as president in 2008."