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Frank Sharry on Executive Action: “The Biggest Victory for Immigrants and Their Allies in 25 Years”

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With the details of the president’s immigration executive action now public, Frank Sharry of America’s Voice shares his reflections:

This is the biggest victory for immigrants and their allies in the past 25 years.  We rejoice with the millions who can come forward, get a work permit and live without fear.

Giving some 5 million immigrants a chance to work legally and live in dignity, combined with the end of the misnamed Secure Communities program, is a significant step towards bringing our dysfunctional immigration system into balance after years of ramped up deportations, out-of-control enforcement and millions of families being ripped apart.

With this historic move President Obama will help to make long overdue improvements to our nation’s immigration system and better the lives of immigrants and the communities in which they live.  Executive action is no substitute for the permanent legislative overhaul we still need, but finally someone is doing something to take action.  We congratulate the President for stepping up and leaning in.

We recognize that we have a fight ahead of us.  We know the Republicans are bent on stopping the President’s policies before they are implemented.  But we will challenge them at every turn and pull back the veil on their process objections to expose the truth: 1) they have no policy alternative other than deportation; and 2) if they let the nativists define and direct their party’s response, they will be permanently branded as a party hostile to Latinos, Asian-Americans and other immigrants.  We pray for a change of heart, but if that is not forthcoming, we will work for a change of Congress.

As for Democrats, to date we have been encouraged that most Democrats are defending this executive action with full-throated support against the howls of Republican opposition.  We expect all Democrats to follow suit.

Finally, we salute the brave immigrants and immigrant advocates who have worked so hard to bring about today.  This is a tremendous victory for our movement and shows that we will not be denied.  This matters because we are far from done.  We will keep fighting until all 11 million undocumented immigrants in America live freely and are treated fairly.