President Barack Obama has acted alone to address the needs of reform to the American Immigration System. Whether or not people agree with this method, the legality of his actions should not be questioned; Executive Action has been taken by every American President in modern times to grant relief to undocumented immigrants. Taking Executive Action to protect nearly 5.7 million undocumented immigrants from deportation is a very fragile solution because the next President can undo this and in fact, they may even use the information provided to USCIS and give it to ICE to track and deport people (scary, we know).
Advocates of Immigration Reform will need to be very involved in any elections for the next Decade if they want to protect the progress made by the current administration. The 2016 Presidential Election will be particularly crucial because a Republican President could and most likely would discontinue programs like Deferred Action for Early Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA). The President’s Executive Action was an important step, but it does not solve the situation of those who have been here for many years but do not have U.S-born or Lawful Permanent Resident Children. Hence the President’s words to congress last week: “Pass a bill”, a legislative solution providing a comprehensive immigration reform will be an ideal solution to secure the border and provide a path to citizenship to the almost 12 million undocumented immigrants in America.
Coincidentally, the Senate had passed a bill with exactly these characteristics earlier this year, but it has been dead at the hands of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner (R, Ohio). Here, the politics of immigration reform play a huge role since Republicans have struggled to get the electoral support of Latinos in the past Presidential Elections and providing a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants is seen as giving the Democrats more voters down the road; probably not far from the truth.
Last week was a valuable victory for justice and immigration reform, it will help many families stay together temporarily, but the fight must go on. The economic impact of bringing the undocumented population “out of the shadows” is very positive since they would fiscally contribute to the economy even more. Let’s support our president in his move to push Congress to act to benefit our broken immigration system. “Congress, pass a bill!”.