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Gutierrez laments Obama immigration deportation review delay

WASHINGTON—Rep. Luis Gutierrez D-Ill., is disappointed President Barack Obama is delaying an immigration deportation policy review, a White House tactic to deny House GOP leaders an excuse for inaction. Obama is making a “grand gesture” to Republicans, Gutierrez said on Thursday.

THE BACK STORY: House GOP leaders will not call immigration bills almost a year after the Senate passed a comprehensive reform measure. The latest reason for not calling anything for a vote, GOP leaders said, is that they don’t trust Obama.

With deportations at a record high, Obama asked Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson in March to find ways to make deportation policy more “humane.” House GOP leader say they fear the president will use his executive powers to weaken deportation rules.

MORE BACK STORY: White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Wednesday explained: “I think the President believes that there’s an opportunity in the next several months to move forward with comprehensive immigration reform in Congress. And he had been hearing from various supporters of that effort, including, a few weeks ago, from evangelicals, but more broadly that there was concern that the review undertaken by Secretary Johnson could be misused, if you will, in order to make — create an excuse for not taking action, and we certainly wouldn’t want that to happen.

“ And that broad coalition of supporters of comprehensive immigration reform share the President’s hope that we might see some action in the House. And we wouldn’t want to create a reason not to act, or an excuse not to act.”

WHAT HAPPENED TODAY: Gutierrez, a national leader on immigration, who has been negotiating with Republicans, is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, where Johnson appeared on Thursday.

When it was Gutierrez turn to ask Johnson questions, he instead used his time to deliver comments about the latest developments.

“I simply say to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle. I hear you. You want to talk about law and order and law and order and law and order. And I’m for law and order. But I’m also for compassion and justice. And we can find a way where you can have your law and order and I think we can find a way where we can have justice and compassion, too. People make mistakes. There’s a broken immigration system. We should find a way,” Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez added, “I think, in my opinion, it’s a pretty grand gesture on his part to say ‘no’ to me….. to say ‘no’ to millions of people who support him, voted for him, cherish him, love him and have protected him – for him to say ‘no’ to us, because he wants to say ‘yes’ to you, because he wants to reach an agreement with you. I think that’s a pretty grand gesture.”