REP. LUIS V. GUTIÉRREZ HAS “PRODUCTIVE AND POSITIVE” MEETING WITH DHS SECRETARY JEH JOHNSON ON IMMIGRATION AND DEPORTATIONS
Meeting precedes Secretary’s meeting with full CHC in April
Washington, DC – Today in his Capitol Hill office, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) met with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson to discuss immigration and deportations. The Congressman requested the meeting with the Secretary as a follow-up to the Congressman’s meeting with President Obama and other Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) leaders on March 13 at which the President indicated he was tasking DHS with reviewing deportation policies.
“It is clear that the President is serious about addressing the humanitarian crisis that deportations are causing and the Secretary and I had a very productive and positive conversation,” Rep. Gutiérrez said after the meeting which took place this morning. “I look forward to the meeting he will have with the full CHC in April where we can share ideas and strategies.”
The whole CHC will continue the discussion of deportation relief options when they meet with Secretary Johnson in the coming weeks. Advocacy leaders and other are also meeting with the Secretary to discuss strategies to dial back the deportation of non-criminals and relieve, as much as possible within existing law, the family separation and pain that increasing deportations have caused in recent years.
“There is a new dialogue and a new openness with the President and the Secretary and they want our ideas and to work with us to see what can be done,” Congressman Gutiérrez said. “I think it is sincere and a step in the right direction.”
Rep. Gutiérrez stressed that working with the Administration to develop strategies for administrative relief and prosecutorial discretion are entirely consistent with putting pressure on Republicans to act on immigration reform. With Democrats slated to introduce a discharge petition for H.R. 15 this week, pressure is mounting on House Republican leaders to take action.
“We not only have to stop the needless destruction of families but need to heal families that have been caught up in the almost two million deportations we have seen in recent years,” Rep. Gutiérrez said. “The Obama Administration and the Secretary are taking the necessary steps to prepare for the worst, and the worst is that the Republicans in the House squander the national momentum and popular call for immigration reform and go back to the default Republican position of doing nothing or doing things to make the current situation worse.”
“The clock is ticking on the GOP and they need to give the country a vote on immigration reform and let the majority rule,” Gutiérrez said.
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.