WASHINGTON (AFP) ―President Barack Obama has postponed a review of U.S. deportation policy for undocumented workers, hoping to give legislative reform a better chance, a White House official said Tuesday.
Obama called on Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson to “hold on the release” of the results and recommendations of a review of procedures for deporting undocumented workers, the official said.
In doing so, the White House hopes to keep Republican push-back in Congress at bay, postponing a review that could drive those on the opposite side of the isle from legislative compromise.
Obama has previously warned that a narrow window remains to pass legislative immigration reform before mid-term elections, seeking to keep alive perhaps his last hope for a major second-term domestic achievement.
Earlier this month Obama told police chiefs and top law enforcement officers that bitter party politics ahead of November’s polls would threaten hopes of moving a reform bill, currently stalled in the U.S. House of Representatives, which is controlled by Republicans.
The Democratic-led Senate passed the bipartisan immigration reform measure last year that includes a path to eventual citizenship for more than 11 million illegal immigrants, tighter border monitoring, an overhauled work visa program and other key reforms.
Obama, who based his 2012 reelection campaign in part on immigration reform, has insisted on a legislative solution.
Yet he ordered the review two months ago to determine whether deportation policy could be conducted more humanely, as he faces criticisms for what activists call mass expulsion.
The review will continue to be refined, while giving the House of Representatives “space to fix the broken immigration system, and to deny the Republicans any excuse for further inaction,” the official said in a statement.
Johnson has not indicated what type of procedures are under review or if the rate of deportation would be reduced.