Obama Takes on Deportation Crisis

Under pressure, President Obama calls for immigration-enforcement review.
3:00 | 03/14/14

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Transcript for Obama Takes on Deportation Crisis
This is a special group. I'm Dan company -- -- ABC news digital special report less than a day after meeting with Latino lawmakers and feeling pressure from immigrant rights activists. President Obama now considering steps to slow down the deportation process. Along with three top White House aides met with a group of nineteen outside leaders -- Unions and activist groups. Across the country so for more on what this means families businesses and the future of immigration law reform. Wanna bring in ABC's Jim -- and outside the White House and Jim this meeting today want now. Well look the president -- -- as you said with the Hispanic caucus yesterday. Members three members of the Hispanic caucus who have been pushing very hard. The president to stop deporting. Undocumented immigrants while he waits for comprehensive immigration reform to be considered in the house. The pressure's been very strong and the president the president in fact was even labeled by one of the biggest groups in the country Hispanic groups in the country. The national. Center for. -- -- The -- said whose whose leader called him the deep port cater the that -- That that criticism stung he's about to reach two million deportations in his presidency. That -- Hispanics who support him. Is is a real sore point -- -- pushing hard for him to do something. In the meantime before it will -- conference of immigration reform. Is stalled and apparently he's willing to look at least to see if there's anything he can do. And the half that -- obviously be illustrated by some statements -- from the Department of Homeland Security. Starting at the beginning of the president's first full year in office and you spoke with the president on this very issue last October when a play a little bit of -- what he had to say that. Why if you haven't been able to -- presidential Fiat say that dreamers will not be. Deported -- -- their parents why not why is the splitting of families bothers quote for small. The decision we made to make sure that dreamers -- deported wasn't. By presidential Fiat it was an administrative judgment that we've got limited resources and so. We can exercise some judgment in terms of poor -- top party folks. That should not be in this country criminals. People who were breaking the law and that dreamers as a category as a group. Who were going to school and blown up here. Just like every other -- and have the same ambitions and aspirations. That they shouldn't have that cloud over them. And -- -- -- so that was the right thing to do. The problem you get is once you get beyond that fairly small contained group. Then how do you make a decision about. Other categories. You can say initially the -- interest but then what about uncles or cousins or. Relatives and at some point the biggest challenge we've got is that we've still got a law. That doesn't serve the interest of this country we've got an immigration system that is broken. That's why my top priority has been let's make sure that we comprehensively reform the whole system so that we're not just dealing -- which were also dealing with. Anybody who's here. And as undocumented let's give them the opportunity to earn a path to citizenship. Make sure they're paying a fine make sure that they're learning English make sure they're paying back taxes let's fix the legal immigration system. So that we're not pushing people into an illegal process. And let's make sure that we've got secure borders and the good news is we've got bipartisan support. For that concept. So to put some time -- -- into -- that conversation took place about four months after a bipartisan group of -- presented comprehensive immigration reform bill. What has happened since. Not much and that's the problem for the president is that of Republicans in the house have a stalled any kind of movement on the comprehensive immigration reform. And while that goes on the president continues to enforce the law. In the loss says the port people and he's deporting thousands every day he doesn't want to be known as the so. -- is a political calculation -- In the beginning there when we spoke to in October. He didn't want to. Hurt the Republicans or give them more. More ammunition. By its by -- the Republicans have been saying that the president they can't trust this president because he won't enforce the law. And so he wanted to make sure he was enforcing the law even though it was doing something that he says even is repugnant to -- -- deporting these folks. So he continued to do that but now that the Republicans are showing no movement. On comprehensive immigration reform. In the heat is too strong now for the president to keep deporting people while he waits on the Republicans it appears as though. But the White House has made a political calculation. But they're going to start now looking at ways where they can broaden the dream Iraq of course dreamers are people. Who were. Brought here as children by their families illegally and remain here are now adults without any papers will right now because what the president ordered. Those folks are allowed to stay in this country and are not sent back. What the president is looking to do we're told. Is to expand. That. That rules that that Fiat which he didn't like the word but that's what it is and and expand -- to -- perhaps families of dreamers the kids who have parents who -- here. Who were being deported still they might not be deported expanding it and many different ways so he he's changing the calculus here the political calculus he's decided. That he can no longer wait on the Republicans in the -- too strong for his -- so what is the best the president can hope for this year we realistically to -- me. Is this a lost cause issue until after the midterm elections in November. People are reluctant to call -- lost cause there's still some. Glimmer of hope that there might be actually a comprehensive immigration reform bill taken up and by the house the Republicans in the house. But that's highly unlikely now it looks more more likely as we get farther and farther into with the year so what the president -- is is doing here now. Is he's deciding that. He wants to at least look at ways to. Get something accomplished and stop deporting people that a wise and also a good political -- possibly good political calculation for him because. The Democrats. Right now are are are getting to push back from their own base and saying you're not doing anything either. But this way if he -- if he does do something. Unilaterally. The Democrats can campaign in Latino areas of Hispanic areas not only in the mid terms but in the actual presidential election. That it was the republicans' fault they wouldn't pass comprehensive immigration reform. But we did something. And they can hold on to that massive Latino support of about. Seventy to 75%. That the Democrats have now it's the beginning -- -- however because. Hispanics Latinos in general are getting frustrated by the fact that. This continues to be deportations. And the president is the one whose administration is -- the deporting. Senior national correspondent outside the white house of knowledge and thank you so much for the insight on that I want to go to Miami not fusion headquarters -- I'm joined by Marianna Senseo. And -- -- being with us who really appreciate this -- so within the immigrant community especially in Florida how big is this issue become. Given his incredible rise the number of deportations. This issue is huge Dan. Pew research survey says that 59%. All the Latinos disapprove of the way President Obama has handled the deportations. And when they look at really -- was to blame. -- in terms of the deportations and the immigration. Bill not passing President Obama comes to the forefront. Some people -- all the intricacies of of congress really. But they really look to their leadership. And what they told me you know in the streets here is that the leadership has failed to respond. We have seen protests all across the country from Arizona all the way to Washington DC last year there is a major demonstration outside the capitol building. So who if anyone outside of the government. Is leading the charge to get this reform done. You have for example the tech sector making a big charge you have labor. You also have a chamber of commerce so some of the biggest lobbyists really in the country. But what I think has really made a big difference is the activists. The dreamers for example people -- have a personal staking this. People think that this is the human rights issue at the beginning of this week you saw a group of dreamers -- have been deported to. Terrible places like one -- -- northern Mexico cross the border. And you know duet with great courage and bravery knowing that -- will be placed in deportation centers and they work. As we just heard for the president there -- talking about the frustration that it is difficult to draw a line between dreamers and their families. Other undocumented immigrants what do these deportations due to those that. Want to pursue citizenship legally. It isn't it really is part of our broken system as a whole. I'm -- -- I -- an immigrant and I can talk about my experience. I have a masters in the US. I've been here for five years but it's incredibly hard to get a green card it's incredibly hard to become. A citizen because it falls into his big huge sack. That -- yet that you know is is sort of like and a loose loose situation. And beyond the citizenship issue for undocumented immigrants. Dissident is is a big every big -- -- In terms of that dialogue. Let me has -- -- giving your experience and and the reflection that you might have on some politicians that have weighed in on this. Florida senator -- -- -- being one of them initially backing a comprehensive bill. Backing off later -- this issue actually can be answered with a package of individual laws what -- to backers of a comprehensive approach. Is wrong with that kind of a plan. Especially the people that I've spoken with experts on immigration and also activists here in the past couple -- days. -- there's nothing really wrong essentially with the piecemeal approach. But they do know that in their hearts on many house Republicans don't agree with a lot of things in the comprehensive bail so this is just another stalling tactic in. What about -- talked to -- about -- just a moment ago the fact the matter is is that mid term elections are not that far away. Do those in the in -- community believe in fact that this issue is not gonna have any kind of major advancement -- till that point is reached. I think everybody's pretty discouraged at this point Dan that's what -- what I've gathered from people in the streets as was from activists in Washington. And on the West Coast as well -- Fusion is -- -- here Mariana thank you so much a really appreciate your time. Of course you can keep up with this story in real time by downloading the ABC news -- and starring this story for exclusive updates on the go. For now -- I'm -- that's our New York with this ABC news digital special report.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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