President Obama Delays Deportation Review

Last week, President Barack Obama asked Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to delay the release of his deportation policy review until late this summer, two administration officials announced on Tuesday. The White House wants to give Congress room to pass immigration reform before the August recess.

Because the Obama Administration has come under fire from political allies as well as immigration advocacy groups, the President ordered the review to explore how immigration officials could ensure deportation policies are carried out “more humanely within the confines of the law.” Secretary Johnson is leading the review, meeting with law enforcement officials, Members of Congress, immigration advocates, and others who have a stake in the deportation debate.

On Tuesday, Politico reported that a coalition of influential immigration advocacy groups released a joint statement urging House leadership to act on immigration during the “real window of opportunity” spanning until the August recess. In addition, they asked President Obama to postpone any announcement on changes to his enforcement policies. “For the good of the country, we urge Speaker Boehner and his colleagues to seize this moment. After so many promises, inaction now would be more than a lost opportunity; it would be a moral and economic loss.” In reference to the President’s deportation review, they said, “We believe the president should move cautiously and give the House leadership all the space they may need to bring legislation to the floor for a vote.” The coalition included the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, National Immigration Forum, Service Employees International Union, Sojourners, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration.

Michael Steel, a spokesman for Speaker of the House John Boehner, issued a response to the President’s announcement about the delay claiming it is just political maneuvering. “Enforcing the law as written isn’t a ‘concession’ – it is the President’s solemn responsibility,” he said. “Now isn’t the time to be playing politics with immigration enforcement or our national security.” The Speaker said last week that there was “nobody more interested in fixing this process than I am,” but blamed lawmaker’s hesitance to proceed with an immigration bill on the President’s implementation of ObamaCare. He said, “When he continues to ignore ObamaCare, his own law, 38 unilateral delays, he reduces the confidence of the American people in his willingness to implement and immigration law the way we would pass it.”

Politico: Deportation Review Delayed

Politico: Immigration Reformers Ask Obama for Time

The Hill: Boehner: Obama “Playing Politics” on Deportations

House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Calls for Eric Shinseki’s Resignation

The Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, Republican Representative Jeff Miller of Florida, urged Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign on Wednesday. He said that the Secretary was a “good man who has served his country honorably,” but that he “appears completely oblivious to the severity of the health care challenges facing the department.” He continued by saying that the “VA needs a leader who will take swift and decisive action to discipline employees responsible for mismanagement, negligence and corruption that harms veterans while taking bold steps to replace the department’s culture of complacency with a climate of accountability.” Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona joined Representative Miller in calling for the Secretary’s resignation, adding “This keeps piling up, and it can’t be just an isolated – the Phoenix VA is not an island…So I haven’t said this before, but I think its time for Gen. Shinseki to move on.”

The calls for Shineski’s resignation follow on the heels of the Veterans Affairs inspector general’s preliminary review of VA medical facilities, which was released Wednesday morning. The review substantiated allegations that VA clinics used “inappropriate scheduling practices” in order to hide treatment delays to inflate their performance ratings.  The inspector general is expanding the review to 42 Veterans Affairs facilities, up from the 26 originally planned. The report called the scheduling practice misconduct a “systemic problem nationwide.”

Politico: Growing Calls on Hill for Erik Shinseki’s Resignation

Washington Post: Inspector General’s Report Confirms Allegations at Phoenix VA Hospital

VA Office of Inspector General: Veterans Health Administration Interim Report: Review of Patient Wait Times, Scheduling Practices and Alleged Patient Deaths at the Phoenix Health Care System

And for our latest post: Using the “Pen and Phone” to Blur the Separation of Powers

And for all our posts: Congressional Institute Blog Archive