Photo: Barack Obama (Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama does not wish to use any executive order to halt the deportation of undocumented immigrants, considering it would damaged efforts to pass immigration reform, religious leaders said after a meeting at the White House.
The president said “he would not be doing anything to change the law as it currently exists,” Luis Cortes, head of Hispanic faith-based organization Esperanza, told reporters after the session.
Obama, according to Cortes, believes that unilateral moves by the White House could damage the prospects for congressional approval of immigration reform.
The Senate passed a bipartisan reform measure last June, but the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has yet to act.
“This morning, the President met with faith leaders in the Oval Office to discuss the importance of taking action to pass commonsense immigration reform,” the White House said in a statement.
Obama “emphasized that while his Administration can take steps to better enforce and administer immigration laws, nothing can replace the certainty of legislative reform and this permanent solution can only be achieved by Congress,” the statement said.
Last month, Obama ordered the Department of Homeland Security to revise the policy of deporting the undocumented, which had reached a record 2 million-plus during his presidency, without violating current law.
The six religious leaders who visited the White House Tuesday refrained from insisting that Obama resort to executive orders and trusted that it is still possible to pass immigration reform before Congress takes its August recess.
Besides Cortes, Tuesday’s meeting included Dr. Noel Castellanos, CEO of Christian Community Development Association in Chicago; JoAnne Lyon, General Superintendent of The Wesleyan Church in Indianapolis; Dr. Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention; and Dieter Uchtdorf of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.