When word went out that President Obama would announce at a press conference today that—tired of the Republicans lack of backbone to address immigration reform—he was finally going to act using executive action—something immigration reform activists and DREAMERS had been begging, organizing and fasting for.
Today's press conference happened and it felt like maybe the Obama administration had been taken over by Arizona Democrats who use terms like border security like the best of Gov. Brewer's advisers. Yeah, mentioning the large number of Central American children crossing and now warehoused and then an increase in border enforcement, what are folks left to think except maybe we have a president who doesn't understand the difference between a humanitarian crisis and immigration reform. And continuing the trajectory of increasing the number of Border agents—it's, well, kind of depressing.
Congressman Raúl Grijalva issued a statement in response to Obama's "executive action," and it seems he's thinking the same thing, but being diplomatic enough with a dash of hopeful—let's wait and see:
Today, President Barack Obama announced that he will take administrative actions to address our nation’s broken immigration system in the face of continued Republican opposition in the House of Representatives. Congressman Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) released the following statement:
“After 18 months of political stonewalling and 12 months of ignoring the bipartisan Senate immigration reform bill, I am glad to see the president is prepared to act where Congressional Republicans refuse,” said Rep. Grijalva. “There are many options available to the president, from extending deferred action to all deserving family members to allowing for prosecutorial discretion on deportations.”
President Obama has directed the Secretary of Homeland Security and Attorney General to move available and appropriate enforcement resources to the border. He also directed his team to identify additional actions and send him recommendations by the end of the summer.
“While the president’s announcement today is a welcome first step, the success of this effort will depend largely on what comes next,” Grijalva continued. “Sending more enforcement to our borders will do nothing for the men, women and children who are caught up in our broken system. Nor will it provide a humanitarian solution to the crisis of child refugees arriving from Central America. I look forward to the president’s next steps, and urge him to focus his efforts on protecting vulnerable families going forward.”
Also in response, Presente.org's Executive Director Arturo Carmona:
“Latinos want more than words from President Obama on immigration reform, we need action to stop deportations and an end to the President’s attacks on our families and communities.
Latinos have long borne the brunt of President Obama’s immigration policies— from record deportations to the use of police to harass people of color in the name of immigration enforcement to inhumane raids and record detentions.
Just yesterday, the President asked Congress for $2 billion dollars to respond to a humanitarian crisis of scared Latino children with a militarized border patrol and ramped up deportations. We need a humanitarian response that treats Latino children and families with dignity and respect.
Latinos deserve better from the President, and we hope he uses this opportunity to halt deportations once and for all until our immigration system is fixed.”