President Obama has decided he could no longer wait on a protractedly inactive congress, and Friday signed a series of executive initiatives aimed at addressing the immigration struggles of over half of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. Some thoughts on this historic moment:
* We celebrate that almost 6 million will have an opportunity to address their immigration status. For years, there has been no line in which they could stand to address their immigration status. President Obama demonstrated leadership in keeping families together. Millions of people’s lives have been changed, and people of faith celebrate this bold initiative.
* Even before the initiatives were announced opponents were framing this action as an historic overreach by Obama. However, every Democratic and Republican president since Dwight Eisenhower has taken executive action on immigration. Obama has exercised his constitutional and legal authority to prioritize the resources allocated by Congress for immigration enforcement. This was a moral decision that all people of faith and good will should support – including our members of Congress— and an example of the courage and action the American people want to see in in their elected officials in solving tough problems.
* This is a temporary fix that provides temporary relief for some, and does not change the immigration status of anyone. The laws need to be changed, and only Congress has the power to do that. It appears that Congress, rather than trying to implement solutions to the system, will expend their energies on attempts to de-fund and limit the president’s executive action.
* What can we do? A key action you can take today is to call your member of Congress at 1-866-940-2439 and urge them to support these important steps toward welcoming our immigrant brothers and sisters. We need to continue to press forward for a permanent solution for ALL of our 11 million neighbors so they can live without fear of deportation, which can only happen if Congress takes action on immigration reform.