DHS might cut back deportations, says report

The Obama administration is looking to curb the deportations of tens of thousands of illegal immigrants whose only crime is unlawful entry to the country, according to news reports.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) confirmed Tuesday that Secretary Jeh Johnson met with leaders in the business community, law enforcement, and religious groups, as he considers moving on immigration reform.

"During the meeting, Secretary Johnson underscored the importance of congressional action to pass commonsense immigration reform -- which will offer a permanent solution to our broken immigration system," the department said in a press release.

This comes after the Associated Press reported Tuesday morning that Johnson is considering relaxing the deportation standards for those who entered the country illegally but have committed no other crime.

John Sandweg, a former acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a division of Homeland Security, told the AP that the move could have prevented 20,000 deportations last year.

"The time had come to focus ICE's efforts exclusively on public safety and national security," said Sandweg, who lobbied for the changes. 

Sandweg explained that Homeland Security will continue deporting illegal immigrants with serious criminal records, but will stop focusing on those who re-entered the country after they were deported or who are fugitives because they did not attend immigration proceedings.

This comes after the AFL-CIO, one of the nation's leading labor union federations, requested similar changes on Monday.

A spokesman for Homeland Security acknowledged Johnson is reviewing the agency's deportation practices, but said he has not yet made a decision.