White House pledges to take action on illegal immigration by end of 2014

SEUNG MIN KIM ---- Politico 

White House chief of staff Denis McDonough pledged to Latino lawmakers during a private meeting Thursday that President Barack Obama will take executive action on immigration before the holidays are over – an effort to soothe lawmakers furious about the administration’s move to hold off on action.

The timeline was described by several members who attended the meeting and, substantively speaking, isn’t different than the end-of-year pledge made by the White House when it moved to delay executive action on immigration until after the midterm elections.

But it gives at least some faith to members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, who have long pressured the Obama administration to ease deportations of undocumented immigrants – particularly as the prospects for comprehensive immigration reform on the Hill slowly collapsed over the last year.

One member who attended – Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) — said there was some “serious venting” inside the room.

“As I told the chief, I said I for one need constant reassurance,” Grijalva said. “I don’t want to go down this path come November and then for some other reason, find that the immigrant community and the Latino community get thrown in the heap again.”

Multiple people familiar with the meeting said McDonough did not go into specifics of the executive action that Obama will ultimately issue, but stressed that he will go as far as he could under existing law. And – in a response to questions from one lawmaker in the room — McDonough said Obama still plans to act regardless of the results of the November elections or even if the political narrative around the issue worsens for Democrats, people familiar with the discussion said.

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