The White House is urging lawmakers to back away from a campaign led by Hispanic Democrats to block deportations involving U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants, a move that risks antagonizing Latino voters crucial to President Barack Obama’s re-election.
Several members of Congress who were scheduled to attend a March 31 news conference on the issue said administration officials contacted them to voice concern about their participation. Until U.S. immigration law is overhauled, the lawmakers say, Obama should use his executive power to protect families facing deportation or separation because at least one parent is an illegal immigrant.
“The staffers that are attached to us, the liaisons, they transmitted some concern,” said Rep. Mike Honda of California, a former chairman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, referring to the White House legislative affairs office. “They would have loved us not to have gone to the press conference.”
Honda, a Japanese-American, attended with other officials, including Asian and black lawmakers, even after getting a call, because it’s “not only about Hispanics,” he said. “I want to broaden that so people don’t think just brown.”