President Obama has deported more than 2 million people, many of whom would qualify for legislative immigration reform. Just last week, on May Day, advocates across the nation rallied for legislation and for an end to the separation of families. Today, an editorial at Bloomberg calls for action from Obama, and asks him to reduce deportations.
The piece correctly pins the blame for legislative inaction on House Republicans, while prodding President Obama to reform enforcement priorities and to build off of the successes of DACA, should the House GOP fail to act in the immediate future. Read the full editorial at Bloomberg or an excerpt, below:
The president should act. He has already directed Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to review options for easing deportations. News reports suggest the administration will take modest steps, if it takes any at all. But it’s a bit late for small ball.
The demise of immigration reform would be a humanitarian failure as well as a political one. Millions of undocumented immigrants are locked in place, with deep roots in communities but limited ability to realize their full potential or contribute their full measure to the economy.
An estimated 4.4 million undocumented immigrants have children who are U.S. citizens. An additional 600,000 or so have spouses who are either American citizens or legal residents. Most have been in the U.S. for a decade or more. Many have jobs in addition to families…
Having already deferred deportations for “Dreamers” — young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children — Obama should extend the policy on similar terms to undocumented immigrants with lengthy residencies in the U.S. and family members who are U.S. citizens or legal residents. The president’s power to ease deportations isn’t explicit. But he unquestionably has discretion in enforcement of immigration law. Some believe the extent of that discretion may be on par with a president’s pardoning power…
The possibility that the U.S. will deport 11 million undocumented immigrants is no more than a cruel fantasy. And all sides agree that the status quo is destructive, undermining both the rule of law and immigrants’ potential.
House Republicans who object to a new class of deportation deferrals have the means to alter it. It’s called legislation. A comprehensive immigration bill, with the imprimatur of Congress, remains by far the best possible outcome. A bipartisan majority of the Senate has already shown the way; the House need only follow suit.
Government shouldn’t be in the business of “tearing families apart who otherwise are law-abiding,” Obama said. If there is a humane and credible rebuttal to that, we haven’t heard it.