White House in Damage Control Mode over Delays in Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants

In damage control mode, officials from the White House have met with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) and promised that President Obama would not renege on his anticipated executive amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants, most of whom are from Latin America.

Obama had announced that the amnesty would take place before the “end of summer”, but then declared that the amnesty would be delayed until Congress returns after the mid-term elections. It has been assumed that he did this because of a fear that the amnesty decision would jeopardize votes for embattled Democrats in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

At the latest meeting, officials reassured the CHC members that the President would announce the amnesty “by the holidays” and that it would be as “generous as possible”. Immigration Lawyers are standing by to see end result with this issue.

The meeting took place in the Capitol between the Chief of Staff at the White House, Denis McDonough, Cecilia Munoz, who is Domestic Policy Director and CHC members. Lawmakers had been angered by the delay announced by Obama on Saturday and were prepared for a vigorous discussion of the matter.

The tide of illegal immigration and what to do about the status of aliens who are already in the United States has been a controversial issue in U.S. domestic politics for years. It was hoped by the Latino community that President Obama’s unilateral decision to regularize the status of most of the aliens who are already in the country would help to reduce personal stress on these people and integrate them more fully into U.S. society.

The meeting apparently proved to be a tough one for the two White House officials. One Congressman asked McDonough what would happen if the Democrats lost control of the Senate and lost members in the House as well, as a result of the mid-term elections. McDonough was reported to have stated that the amnesty would still be announced.

While CHC members may have felt reassured by the outcome of the meeting, McDonough himself was reported to be more guarded. He said that it was good to catch up with CHC representatives and be able to restate the Administration’s commitment to “fixing a broken Immigration system”.

Meanwhile, the number of illegal immigrants that have been deported by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has dropped by a factor of 20% this year compared to the same period in 2013. DHS data shows that 258,608 deportations took place in the first 10 months of the 2014 financial year. This compares to 320,167 deportations in the same period in 2013.

A spokesperson from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said that their focus at present was concentrating on known criminals amongst the illegal alien community as well as recent border entrants. It is unclear at this stage whether the drop in deportations reflects the President’s decision to grant amnesty to those illegal immigrants who do not have a criminal record.

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