The Reid Report   |  March 11, 2014

Immigration reform remains at a standstill

Under growing pressure from activists, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus is voting this week on a proposal to press President Obama to stop deportations. Joy Reid talks with BuzzFeed’s Adrian Carrasquillo, who broke the story.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> republicans have a problem, and it goes by the name of a rapidly expanding hispanic population. they can run, hide and restrict voting all they want, but the number crunchers have all kinds of charts and graphs that prove that a larger latino population, absent some attempt to appeal to these emerging voters, is a huge problem for the gop. meanwhile, house speaker john boehner continues to block immigration reform from getting a vote because what the gop also has is a base that's highly resistant to reform, even if it's in their party's best long-term interest. immigration activists have had it with the delays, and now they are not just targeting republicans . a recent study out of the university of california estimates that the obama administration is on track for more than 2 million deportations, more in six years than all people deported before 1997 . at a town hall last week the president responded to critics labeling him the deporter in chief, putting the blame on congress.

>> i am the champion in chief of comprehensive immigration reform , but what i've said -- what i've said in the past remains true which is until congress passes a new law, then i am constrained in terms of what i'm able to do.

>> under growing pressure from activists buzz feed is reporting the congressional hispanic caucus is voting this week on a proposal to press president obama to make good on his pen and phone promise and act on his own. they want action on two fronts. slow down the deportations and increase the use of prosecutorial distropical depression but critics say the proposal lacks teeth and won't do much to move the immigration reform process forward. activist groups like the d.r.e.a.m. action coalition want to know why the entire congressional hispanic caucus isn't on board. in their words we need the chc to be leaders, not followers. and here with me now is buzz feed reporter adrian kariso who broke the story. first of all, let's answer that question. why isn't the entire congressional hispanic caucus on board?

>> i think you saw the letter that came out and many congress people signed on to the letter saying you should suspend deportion as is and increase your use of prosecutorial prosecution. a lot of staff members of the congressional hispanic caucus will say they don't hear the pressure as much, but as you saw this week there was a lot of pressure and movement on the issue as well with, you know, the president being called the deporter in chief, with senators menendez and schumer and harkin coming out saying deportation should be slowed down. now with you really feeling pressure on that front?

>> what's the response from the democratic caucus ?

>> a lot of people are saying you're focusing on the wrong people, republicans are the ones slowing immigration reform . obviously here you have what the story is reporting a draft-over resolution. on wednesday the immigration task force will look at it and discuss it and voting on this on thursday to pressure the president to slow deportations and to increase the use of prosecutorial discretion which many activists say it's not new. you're not stopping the deportations. you can't have the senator from new york chuck schumer to be to the right of this issue on you.

>> right. so the white house , i mean, what has been the reaction there? i'm assuming it's not very positive, the white house reaction to this.

>> the president you could tell it stung when he was called the deporter of chief. for him to come out on the town hall to get latinos to sign up for the affordable care act , he said i'm the champion in chief. he has pushed this and republicans are stopping. know they don't have to do anything right now and not making reform move forward.

>> the white house , i even know from reporting on this, that this is a top priority for the white house to get immigration reform done now. we're still in the primary season and it's difficult for republicans , but according to your reporting, what do they believe the chances are that this pressure will work, that the president will throw down the gauntlet and zero out deportations until action comes from the hill?

>> i think that you've seen a lot of people are sort of doubting that it's going to work and now you see the pressure increasing and people are thinking if everyone keeps coming out and increasing this pressure on the president and saying you really need to stop deportations, if that were to happen you'd have the republicans upset the laws are not being enforced where people would be saying you need to pass immigration reform if you want this to go on.

>> this is obviously something that hasn't already gone through the senate, that the nat is on board. it's really the house of representatives , so how in your reporting are people responding to the white house case that, listen, this is 80 something republicans in the house that won't let this go to the floor. all of the demonstrations in the world and attacking the white house won't make john boehner bring up an immigration reform bill.

>> the d.r.e.a.draemers and activists care this is happening at the same time that the white house is making this big push for the affordable care act when one of the groups lagging behind in terms of enrollment is latinos.

>> you have this burgeoning latino population in this country and a lot of people are zeroing in saying there's problems affecting the community, and one of them is deportations.

>> so now lastly in terms of the strategy here we are seeing a lot more visibility among activism, among the d.r.e.a.m.ers, et cetera .

>> i think d.r.e.a.m.ers are working on some things in the next couple of weeks. they are the face of immigration. while it affects activists and day laborers and so many others who are affected but the d.r.e.a.m.ers face, different things going on, they know they will get people paying attention to what's going on.

>> one of the lessons within the lbgt community is sometimes you have to pick at your friend, pressure the people that are your allies and that works. adrian, nbc latino alumni and now one of my obsession sites buzz feed. congratulations, great story.