Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) said Friday that it would be difficult for a future president to repeal President Obama's deferred deporation program if enough illegal immigrants sign up.

“The more people to sign up, the more unlikely you’ll ever unravel this,” Gutiérrez said on MSNBC’s "The Rundown" with José Díaz-Balart.

“We’ve put them on the books, they are paying taxes, they’ve gone through a background check, they don’t represent a threat, and they have American citizen children and now we are going to deport them and their kids?”


In November, the president issued executive actions that would stay deportations and provide work permits to millions of immigrants who entered the country illegally. The Hispanic immigrant community welcomed the changes with open arms, as three-quarters approved the move according to Gallup.

But U.S.-born Hispanics were less likely to back the president’s plan, with 51 percent supporting it according to Gallup.

American citizens born in another country were more likely to approve of the president's move than those born inside the U.S., 69 to 37 percent. The poll was conducted Nov. 24 to Dec. 7 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

The president's move drew the ire of Congressional Republicans and conservative groups that accused him of trampling the Constitution. After much debate, House Republicans didn’t use the end-of-year government funding bill to challenge the immigration changes, but have vowed to return to the issue next year.

House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas), said during the debate on the “cromnibus” rule that Republicans will take on the executive orders soon after the new Republican majority in Congress convenes in January.

In the meantime, immigration advocates like Gutiérrez are scrambling to enroll eligible immigrants. And while the Illinois congressman said that there’s a wing of the GOP, led by outgoing Rep. Michele BachmannMichele Marie BachmannBoehner says he voted for Trump, didn't push back on election claims because he's retired Boehner: Trump 'stepped all over their loyalty' by lying to followers Boehner finally calls it as he sees it MORE (R-Minn.) and Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), that want to push the party to a hard line on immigration, he still believes that most Republicans are willing to work with him.

“I think there are broader sectors of the Republican Party that really want to reach a compromise with Democrats and serve the nation well,” he said.