Democrats Clash with White House on Immigration Raids Ahead of State of the Union

PHOTO: Rep. Luis Gutierrez speaks during a news conference regarding immigration raids of Central American families with children, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 12, 2016. Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo
Rep. Luis Gutierrez speaks during a news conference regarding immigration raids of Central American families with children, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 12, 2016.

Congressional Democrats continue to tangle with the Obama administration over a series of immigration raids carried out over the holidays as President Obama prepared for his final State of the Union address to Congress.

Democrats, led by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, have protested a number of raids carried out in southern states by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers against illegal immigrants from Central America -- 121 adults and children who had been ordered to leave the country by a judge.

More than 130 House Democrats signed on to a letter to the White House Tuesday calling on the White House to suspend the raids.

House Democrats have met repeatedly with administration officials on the raids. On Tuesday, members met with White House chief counsel Neil Eggleston in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s office.

The administration has defended the raids as a necessary to deter illegal immigration into the United States from Central America.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said Tuesday morning he believes the White House is moving towards a “resolution” on the raids, after a conversation with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-California, who has been in constant communication with White House officials and attended the Tuesday meeting with the White House council, said she was not aware of any imminent “pause” to the operations.

“We hope that it will be heard. We have not been informed of that ... in the House side,” she said.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Illinois, suggested in a news conference Tuesday the administration was out of step with the Democratic Party’s presidential candidates on the issue.

“If you look across the political spectrum, whether it's martin O’Malley or Bernie Sanders, or Hillary Clinton. They're all pretty clear. The response has been very broad in rejection. So we're asking them, pause, stop, reconsider, make sure nobody is sent to their death,” he said.