Rep. Gutierrez: Obama 'Should Be Expanding His Prosecutorial Discretion’

By Melanie Arter | December 3, 2013 | 4:17pm EST

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) (Photo: Gutierrez Web site)

( - At a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) said that President Barack Obama should be expanding his prosecutorial discretion when it comes to enforcement of immigration laws.

“Unfortunately, he should not be limiting his prosecutorial discretion. He should be expanding his prosecutorial discretion,” Gutierrez said during a hearing on the constitutionality and legality of actions the Obama administration has taken on issues like the enforcement of immigration laws.

The president signed a memo calling for deferred action for certain young illegal aliens who came into the country as children and have pursued education or military service in the United States. The president’s policy is referred to as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and the children who are covered under DACA are known as DREAMers. The Department of Homeland Security began implementing DACA on Aug. 15, 2012.

Gutierrez admitted that three Dreamers are working in his congressional office. Another Dreamer, who worked as a congressional aide for Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), quit her job to fight for her mother, who is facing deportation, he said.

Gutierrez praised the president’s decision to not to enforce the immigration laws for some children of illegal immigrants, saying that if one of them was dangerous or caused harm, Republicans would hold that person up as an example of how the DACA does not work.

Obama “set children aside and said ‘I’m no longer going to prosecute them, because they do not present an eminent threat,’ and guess what Mr. Chairman, a year and a half later, 500,000 of them are walking around, and I assure you if you could find one and bring them up here that shows how he’s caused some danger or some harm, that person would have already have come. But the fact is that they’re not,” he said.

“Look, they’re American citizens in everything but a piece of paper,” Gutierrez said.

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