Obama could not keep his 2008 promise for immigration reform and made it one of the pillars of his second term, but, according to Gutierrez, the immigrant community “is suffering intensely” due to the deportations.
“The president will not stop deporting people, I want to emphasize that. He will deport another 400,000 people (this year). There’s an imbalance here that goes against immigrants…every day between 1,200 and 1,400 people are deported,” Gutierrez said in a telephone interview.
Known as one of the most stalwart defenders of immigrants in Congress, the Illinois Democrat openly complains about the deportation of around 1.6 million people since Obama took office in January 2009.
The president and his Democratic allies wasted the chance to pass immigration reform when their party had control of both houses of Congress in 2009, and now the reform has sworn enemies among the Republicans who control the House, Gutierrez said.
He said the bill that he and another seven House members from both parties are negotiating “will not be as good as it could have been in the first two years” of Obama.
Gutierrez told the press Wednesday that the bipartisan group hopes to resolve some disagreements and present its own version of reform by next month at the latest.
On Thursday the Senate Judiciary Committee began debating some 300 amendments to the bipartisan bill negotiated by the “Gang of Eight” senators to legalize the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, and plans to put it to a vote before the end of the month.