Under pressure from lawmakers, Homeland Security Secretary
Johnson told members of the
"I've seen some pretty serious criminal convictions on that list, including homicide," Johnson said. "I want to ensure we are doing everything we should be doing."
The chairman of the committee, Rep.
Since 2011, the Obama administration has tried to focus immigration agents on deporting recent border crossers, repeat immigration violators and people who pose a threat to public safety. In March, Obama asked Johnson to review the department's deportation policies to see if expulsions can be done in a more "humane" way.
This week, the White House asked Johnson to delay announcing the results of that review until August to avoid angering House Republicans who are considering a series of bills on immigration reform. Johnson told lawmakers on Thursday that he saw a need to clarify instructions given to immigration officers about which individuals should take priority for deportation.
“Whatever we do to revise our enforcement policies, however, is no substitute for comprehensive immigration reform passed by
Johnson added that the estimated 11.4 million people living in this country illegally are "not going away."