Slowing deportations could hurt chances for House immigration action

Article subtitle: 
President Obama told law enforcement leaders ... that he wouldn’t sign an immigration overhaul bill unless it has “some pathway to citizenship”
Article author: 
Brian Bennett, Christi Parsons
Article publisher: 
Los Angeles Times
Article date: 
13 May 2014
Article category: 
National News
Article Body: 

After some of President Obama's closest political allies unexpectedly accused him of enforcing immigration laws too aggressively, the president ordered his aides this spring to find ways to ease the pace of deportations.

Now, some of those same advocacy groups are quietly urging the White House to slow that effort down, warning that ordering changes without congressional approval could spook House Republicans and kill any chances of a legislative fix this year.

House Speaker John A. Boehner's staff has been drafting bills in a bid to offer a Republican response to the comprehensive immigration and border security bill that passed the Senate last June ...

A White House move to scale back deportations would unite House Republicans in opposition and end the push for reform, said Alfonso Aguilar, executive director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, an advocacy group. "It would kill it right away."

"Republicans are looking for an excuse not to do it," agreed Angela Kelley, an immigration expert at the Center for American Progress ...

Under Obama's instructions to make deportation policy more humane, Homeland Security officials are drafting new guidelines to avoid unnecessarily separating families ...

Two 2011 directives from John Morton, then-director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, are being revised to make them clearer and to make people convicted only of immigration violations a low priority for deportation, officials said.

Johnson also is seeking to reduce the number of people in detention. Congress requires ICE to keep 34,000 detention beds, but Johnson has said he doesn't believe the law requires that all the beds be filled ...