WASHINGTON, DC – Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez says he's optimistic after meeting with the President Thursday, reporting the Congressional Hispanic Caucus urged Obama to use his Executive powers to the fullest extent to deal with the growing immigration crisis.
“I saw a compassionate President who listened to our position on the deportation crisis that families and communities are facing in America. We urged the President to be as broad and expansive in using prosecutorial discretion and executive action as the Republicans have been narrow and mean-spirited when it comes to immigrants and immigration," Gutierrez said in a statement after the meeting.
Thursday, Gutiérrez joined his colleagues in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) at a meeting at the White House with President Obama, Vice President Biden, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell.
The meeting was requested by the CHC and its Chairman Ruben Hinojosa of Texas to discuss immigration issues and specifically the way children fleeing violence in Central America are being treated and the suggestions the CHC has made to the President on prosecutorial discretion to dial back deportations breaking up American families.
Gutiérrez is chairman of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
“I was proud of the CHC standing up, unified and powerful for Latinos and immigrants today at the White House. We want to help the President succeed and we want to work with him to address the damage and chaos our broken immigration system is causing in American communities. I am energized and optimistic after meeting with the President," he said.
“We told the President the CHC will not support a supplemental budget request that undermines the legal protection for children and we will work with him to get the resources our government needs to respond to the humanitarian crisis we are seeing with child refugees from Central America. The CHC told the President we will fight for the rights of these children under the law and a lot of other Democrats will stand with us."
Gutierrez says he thinks the President, the Vice President and their administration "get it on an emotional level – they get the pain that immigrant communities are suffering, the families being split apart, and they get the pain that children fleeing violence are suffering."
The 4th CD Democrat did not mention how the care for the children would be funded and who would be responsible for the costs to states and local municipalities where the children will be sheltered.
“There are times when the United States must show why it is the greatest nation on earth and how we treat children fleeing violence is one of those times. These are refugees in need of help. We would denounce any country overseas that attacks, protests, and turns back children fleeing violence and turmoil. And as a great nation we must set an example for others when it comes to the rule of law and the generosity of our people.”