by Jim Nintzel
Congressman Raul Grijalva reacts to Obama's immigration speech:
Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, thanked President Obama for taking the opportunity in his El Paso speech today on immigration reform “to reaffirm his commitment to the principles we all know immigration reform needs to include. He laid out the case very well and reminded us why this is an issue that needs attention now, not ten or twenty or fifty years from now.”
Grijalva said the president’s call for a legal system that “reunites families more quickly instead of splitting them apart” is “absolutely the humane approach we need right now. When demagogues are willing to say anything to win another election and spread falsehoods to whip up fear, it was good to hear the president remind us of the values and common sense that built this country and made it the successful, united nation it is today.”
The approach Obama outlined in his speech closely mirrors the language of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security And Prosperity Act, which Rep. Grijalva and others have championed during the past several Congresses. Both plans include an earned path to citizenship for those who pay back taxes and learn English; a seasonal farm worker program that brings farmers and migrant workers into compliance; legal language that allows children of undocumented parents to remain in the country legally if they go to college or pursue military service; and comprehensively reducing the backlog of existing visa applications.
“The president said he doesn’t believe the United States of America should be in the business of separating families, and I completely agree,” Grijalva said. “He’s right to say that’s not who we are. Who we are as Americans is about our ability to be realistic, to be humane, and to be honest. He warned opponents of reform to stop moving the goalposts, and I want to echo that warning, because making unreasonable demands won’t produce a realistic, humane or honest result. It’s time to produce a policy that’s based on what’s really happening in this country, not in the imaginations of a misguided handful of fear-mongers. That’s what the president said to the country today, and he was right.”