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Advocates, Members of Congress React to President Obama's Speech

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:

Speaker Boehner has made it absolutely clear that he won’t lift a finger to fix our broken immigration system so President Obama is right to protect families from being torn apart.

Speaker Boehner is out of excuses and his failure of leadership is enormous. Our broken immigration system is one of the biggest challenges we face as a nation and Speaker Boehner knows that addressing it is the right thing to do, yet the Tea Party spooked him into cowering in a corner. Instead of working with Democrats to forge bipartisan solutions, Speaker Boehner has sunk to suing the President and wasting taxpayer money in a transparent attempt to appease the Tea Party.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi:

While legislation is the surest way to affect the change we need, we cannot continue with such an obviously broken immigration system.  Our broken immigration system tears apart families, diminishes our global competitiveness, and denies our history and our heritage as, by and large, a nation of immigrants.  House Democrats stand shoulder to shoulder with the President and the bipartisan coalition in the Senate to restore sense to our immigration system, and we will never give up our push for comprehensive immigration reform legislation.


This is a pivotal moment in the movement for migrant rights.  What comes next will be defining moment for the President and for the country.  In de-linking his immigration policy from his legislative reform strategy, the President is now free to do the right thing, and he can fulfill the promise of being a transformative president….

We fully expect the President to maximize use of existing authority to ameliorate the injustice of the status quo, and we pledge to work with the administration to fend off the attacks from nativists that will surely come, if and when, he does the right thing.  Until then, we will continue our efforts to escalate opposition to unnecessary and unjust deportations.

Alliance for Citizenship:

We urge the President to act as soon as possible—and to help jumpstart the process for as many aspiring Americans as possible to stay, live, and work in this country that they call home.

And just as the president is taking matters into his own hands, so is the pro-immigrant rights movement. We are going to hold Republicans accountable for blocking reform.

As we roll into the 2014 and 2016 election cycles, Latino, Asian, and immigrant voters will remember how House Republicans blew the best chance at fixing the immigration crisis. Our movement is growing more determined and stronger every day. We will actively mobilize immigration reform supporters across party lines to elect a Congress that will fix our broken immigration system—and we won’t stop until we secure a permanent solution for our families.

DRM Action Coalition:

Although relief is being promised, we are left to wonder what sort of relief it will be.  “I can’t wait and do nothing while the House GOP does nothing”  he said. Obama spoke of the losses to the country over the year that the House failed to act, and that he would fix as much of our system by himself as he can. What will this mean?…

“Today was one good step, but the follow through will determine whether or not it is in the right direction. His rhetoric has changed from ‘I can’t stop deportations on my own’ to ‘I will take executive action’, now it is a matter of him being bold and meeting the communities’ demands, like expanding Deferred Action, or just making small fixes to try to get pressure off his back.” said Erika Andiola, Dreamer from the Dream Action Coalition.

Mi Familia Vota:

The president is acting because Congress has not. Instead of finding solutions, the House GOP leadership has decided to play politics with the immigrant and Latino communities, refusing to understand or care about the issue and the consequences it has for our community.

What’s worse is that, while coming up with excuses during the last year for not scheduling votes to move the country forward, the House GOP leadership has decided to move the country backwards, siding with the House extremists to deport DREAMers and hurt immigrant families.

Despite bipartisan support for immigration reform with a path to citizenship across the country, House Republicans are in disarray and are letting a small but loud anti-immigrant minority in the caucus take the lead with its anti-immigrant rhetoric and legislation.

The bottom-line is this — if the House won’t work with us, we will work to elect a Congress who will! We commend President Obama for taking action in the absence of action on Capitol Hill.

United We Dream:

However, while we welcome today’s remarks, after all the promises and rhetoric in support of immigration reform in recent years – only to be followed by excuses and inaction – we are past the point of celebrating mere words. We need to see actual substantive steps forward that protect immigrant families. UWD also remains in strong opposition to the separate news announced today that the Obama Administration will speed the deportations of unaccompanied Central American minors fleeing violence…

This is an opportunity for President Obama to lead and to address the out of control deportations and family separations that have happened under his administration. As we’ve demanded throughout the year, Dreamers expect no less than expansive administrative relief that builds on DACA.  We will continue fighting to ensure that the President delivers on affirmative relief for our community, and we will remind him that anything less will be unacceptable.