President Obama reassured members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Wednesday that he will flex his executive muscle later this year to be "as great and big and bold as he can be" to reduce deportations of undocumented immigrant families
who have lived and worked in the United States for years, one Democratic lawmaker said at the conclusion of the meeting.
Obama tasked White House Counsel W. Neil Eggleston and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to meet this week with caucus members to continue examining powers the president can use to keep undocumented families together, Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois told reporters.
Meanwhile, members of the caucus are willing to give the administration expedited authority to deport a surge of unaccompanied children seeking asylum in the United States, as long as any statutory changes preserve judicial due process on a case-by-case basis, Gutierrez told RCP.
Obama has asked Congress to approve $3.7 billion in emergency funding to address the immigration influx at the southwestern border, primarily from Central American countries, and he wants DHS to gain expedited authority to return most of the asylum-seekers to their home countries more quickly. The president also conceded recently that House Republicans will not vote on comprehensive immigration reform legislation this year, and he told his advisers to send him executive options by the end of the summer that might make some strides, even without Congress.