As you can imagine, there have been lots of reactions to yesterday’s announcement from the Obama administration about the new deportation policy. We’ve complied some of the comments and statements from a range of our allies and colleagues. For the most part, this is viewed as a good first step. There’s still more that can be done, but this is progress.
I have been vocal in my criticism of the President and his Administration over the dramatic increase in deportations on his watch and have traveled the country urging him to use his power under existing law to do what he can to help. This is the Barack Obama I have been waiting for and that Latino and immigrant voters helped put in office to fight for sensible immigration policies. Focusing scarce resources on deporting serious criminals, gang bangers, and drug dealers and setting aside non-criminals with deep roots in the U.S. until Congress fixes our laws is the right thing to do and I am proud of the President and Secretary Napolitano for standing up for a more rational approach to enforcing our current immigration laws.
Today is a victory not just for immigrants but for the American people as a whole because it makes no sense to deport DREAM Act students and others who can make great contributions to America and pose no threat. It is not in our national interest to send away young people who were raised in the U.S. and have been educated here and want only to contribute to this country’s success.
I applaud President Obama and Secretary Napolitano’s decision to commit a panel to redefine priorities in deportation cases. It is essential to devote our resources to apprehending, prosecuting and deporting individuals that pose a danger to our communities.
While this administrative change is not a panacea for all our nation’s immigration problems, it’s a positive step forward and will, I hope, serve as guidepost to set the tone of continuing immigration discussions.
I have asked the Department to ensure that it prioritizes the removal of serious criminals instead of deporting young people who have grown up in this country since childhood and hard-working families who have compelling ties to the United States. The Department of Homeland Security’s decision to review all pending deportation cases and to consider humanitarian concerns in each case is a very positive step forward. I hope the Department will pursue additional initiatives to keep American families together by allowing immigrant spouses and children of U.S. citizens to apply for visas from within the United States based on an expanded and broad list of humanitarian factors.