Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) told Salon in an interview published Friday that he believes President Barack Obama should think about expanding deferred deportations he granted to DREAMers, or illegal immigrants brought here as children, to others who came to the U.S. illegally.
“There are devastating effects if the Congress of the United States cannot enact comprehensive immigration reform – then the President of the United States has the responsibility to act to defend those immigrants which he says he wants to provide safety and justice for,” Gutierrez said.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), one of the “gang of eight” who brokered a comprehensive immigration reform deal in the Senate earlier this year, warned in a radio interview this past summer that he believed Obama could use an executive order to legalize millions of undocumented immigrants if Congress failed to act.
“I think that those who call on the President of the United States to re-evaluate his actions on the dreamers and expand it – I think that’s something the President of the United States should definitely look at, and begin to evaluate how he brings that about,” Gutierrez told Salon.
Obama has said he would not use his executive authority to halt deportations for the approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the country. He urged Congress to act on immigration reform by the end of the year in a speech Thursday at the White House, noting that the legislation’s fate rests with Republicans in the House.