REP. GUTIÉRREZ ON CHC MEETING WITH DHS SECRETARY JEH JOHNSON

Apr 9, 2014 Issues: Immigration

“We opened a new front today in the fight

to protect American families,” – Rep. Gutiérrez

 

Washington, DC – This morning, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) participated in a meeting hosted by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in the U.S. Capitol with Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson.  At the meeting, Secretary Johnson was formally presented with the six page memo from the CHC that outlines measures the Obama Administration can take under current law to protect some immigrants and their families from deportation.  The off-the-record meeting with the Secretary lasted about an hour and afterwards, Rep. Gutiérrez issued the following statement:

“Secretary Johnson was forthright with us and we had an open and candid discussion. This is the first of what I expect to be many conversations on the road to overhauling our enforcement system to better reflect our values.

“We opened a new front today in the fight to protect American families.  We have to find a way to keep moms and dads and husbands and wives who are simply trying to survive out of the deportation queue.  And we have to make sure that the Department of Homeland Security is focusing on killers and rapists and using its resources on measures that actually make our country safer.

“In talking to the Secretary, I kept the stories of immigrants I have met foremost in my mind.  While some Republicans argue that the Obama Administration has been cooking the deportation numbers, we in the CHC know that is not the case.  Wherever we go, we hear tragic stories of family separation and deportations and desperate appeals for assistance to protect and reunite families.  But current policies are stacked against these families, and significant changes in federal enforcement -- and bold administrative action -- are needed to put deserving immigrants and their families in a safe place.

“Yesterday, I visited with the Women’s Fast For Families on the Mall and today I am meeting with other families who are gathered outside the White House who have loved ones in detention.  I was asked by the Fasters to deliver a letter to Secretary Johnson with the stories of women gravely impacted by our broken immigration system, which I did.  These stories are demonstrative of the dire need for administrative action -- like the expansion of deferred action and the use of parole -- available to the Secretary under current law

“A permanent, legislative solution to the plight of these families is far preferable to administrative relief.  As I have said, we have a window between now and the summer to put pressure on Republicans to save their party from the Steve Kings and opponents of legal immigration and immigration reform who have held the House GOP Conference in check on this issue. 

“We are all applying pressure to get the Republicans to get over their fear and take action.  But just the threat of presidential action is a powerful tool in this battle.  They know they are on the clock and that if they don’t take action, Secretary Johnson and the President will have to.”

Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez represents the Fourth District of Illinois, is a Member of the Judiciary Committee and the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, and is the Chairman of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

 

# # #