Published March 14, 2014
Watch the full video interview above or here with Rep. Luis Gutierrez.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez told Fox News Latino a less 'combative' and 'defensive' President Barack Obama showed up at a private White House meeting on immigration reform Thursday. This, he said, is giving him hope that Obama will use his power and bypass Congress to stop the record number of deportations processed during his administration.
Obama met with Gutierrez and two other members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Thursday. The meeting resulted in an announcement that Obama will be directing his homeland security chief to review America's deportation program with the goal of offering more humane ways to enforce the law.
"It was a great conversation. It reestablished a dialogue," said Gutierrez, a staunch liberal Democrat and a critic of Obama on immigration. "We made abundantly clear to the president the kind of pain and the kind of demand which exists throughout the immigrant communities of this nation for a more humane process when it comes to deportation, the breaking up of families, the children left without parents."
"He wasn’t defensive. He wasn’t combative," Gutierrez explained. "He has been in the past, when we’ve raised this issue with him. He spoke to us [about] just how broken his heart is to see this deportation. How he has worked within the confines of the law to alleviate, and that the only way he can fix it in a broad meaningful way is for Congress to act."
Gutierrez said he sensed Obama shifted his tone away from saying there is 'nothing more he can do' on immigration reform.
"I heard a President of the United States that said, 'look this is what I can do,' I’m not going to say there is nothing that I can do'," said Gutierrez, who said the meeting touched on a strategy to passing a comprehensive law.
The Illinois Democrat said he and other Latino lawmakers will meet with Homeland Security Chief Jeh Johnson in about two weeks. Here they will present their 'menu options' or recommendations to help alleviate the deportation problem. One of those options, Gutierrez said, includes the possibly of expanding DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which provides young undocumented immigrants a two-year work permit and a temporary stay from deportation.
"There are some technical things that can be done that may seem small, but have huge impacts on people’s lives and there are some larger things that we can do," Gutierrez said in a video interview with Fox News Latino.
He then provided a warning to House Republicans, who have not acted on immigration reform.
"If there is no comprehensive immigration reform, the Republican Party as we know it will cease to exist on a national level," he said. "They'll never be a national party again, the Latino community, the immigrant community won't forgive them."