GOP leaders criticize Obama efforts to reduce deportations

Franco Ordoñez

A group of GOP Senators have raised "grave concerns" about President Barack Obama’s call for a review of deportation procedures.

The nearly dozen Senators wrote a letter to Obama Thursday saying his efforts could lead to "a near complete abandonment of basic immigration enforcement" and discard the notion that the United States has enforceable borders.

"Clearly the urgent task facing your administration is to improve immigration enforcement, not to look for new ways to weaken it," the senators wrote.

In March, Obama asked Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson to review ways to reduce the number of people deported from the United States. The move raised speculation that Obama may next take up independent action to reduce deportations of those here illegally.

The 22 Republicans include to GOP leaders Minority Leader Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee and many of the staunchest opponents of an Obama-supported immigration overhaul that would provide a path to citizenship for many of the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants.

Many of those same Republicans criticized Obama in 2012 when he passed an executive order stopping deportations of young immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children

The GOP leaders said in their letter Thursday that such policy moves have been "incrementally nullifying immigration enforcement in the interior of the United States to the point that unless individuals in the country illegally are apprehended, tried, and convicted for a felony or other serious offense, they are free to live and work in the country."

By Franco Ordoñez
McClatchy Washington Bureau