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Immigration Reform “Office Hours”

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Advocates and DREAMers React to Legislative Developments and Discuss Expectations for Executive Action Ahead

With the debate over how to handle the current humanitarian emergency at the U.S. border still very much in flux, many are left speculating what this means going forward and how this will impact potential executive action down the road.

On this week’s Office Hours, advocates, faith leaders and Dreamers discussed all the week’s developments and analyzed with this means from a political and policy perspective going forward.

Said Marshall Fitz, Director of Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund:

Republicans had a branding problem after 2012 and has refused to do the one thing that they needed to do in the wake of the last election cycle: pass immigration reform.  Instead of being ashamed of their inability to come to an agreement on historic reform, they’ve mounted a full frontal attack on immigrant youth and refugees.  If we can draw any conclusion from this past week, it’s that the extremists in the Republican Conference are clearly the tail that’s waging the party dog.

Now, with the legislative debate winding down, all eyes are turning to the President who’s weighing his options for executive action on immigration in the coming weeks.

This week United We Dream (UWD) launched the “Dreams from Our Families” campaign as a part of its ongoing effort to highlight the stories of Dreamers; their parents; and an array of other American voices who are making the case for why President Obama must go big on immigration executive action.

Said Armando Ghinaglia, Advocacy and Analyst Fellow for United We Dream, on today’s call:

With Republicans more interested in politicking off the lives of child refugees and attacking Dreamers and their families than in actually governing, it’s clear now more than ever that the President has a moral and political obligation to step up and take action on behalf of the refugee children at the border as well as on behalf of the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States.  Dreamers and their families are counting on the President to follow through on his promise to go big and bold on executive action, calling on him to build on the success of DACA by delivering relief to our parents and making long overdue reforms to our deportation enforcement.  We won’t stop fighting until our families get the full, affirmative relief our community needs and deserves.

Added Luis Aguilera, DACA recipient and leader with El Cambio (a United We Dream affiliate), whose story was featured in United We Dream’s first “Dream of the Day” this week:

Even though my door of opportunities is now open because of DACA, and I’m able to drive and work freely in this country that I call home, I still think of all the locks that my mom’s door holds. We will demand that President Obama break the locks and provide affirmative relief for people like my mother, so that she may also live with the dignity she deserves. We will fight for our parents, so that they are able to work and drive and further contribute to this country.

“We have come to Washington, DC to tell to President Obama and Congress that kicking out suffering immigrant families and unaccompanied children is not the answer. Immediately stopping the deportations and extending due process to children escaping the violence of drug cartels, gangs and poverty is the just way to respond,” said Bishop Minerva Carcaño, the United Methodist Bishop in Los Angeles. On Thursday, the Bishop lead 112 faith and immigrant advocates who were arrested in a civil disobedience at the White House.

Concluded Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

As we’ve seen today, Congressman Steve King (R-IA) is still ‘King of the House’ when it comes to immigration policy.  Not content to expedite the deportations of refugee children, the House GOP leadership has fully ceded power to the King wing of the raucous caucus and will go after Dreamers.  Their vote to gut DACA today will be the defining vote for the Republican Party heading into 2014 and a permanent stain on the Party’s record in 2016 and beyond.   With House Republicans incapable of any sort of responsible governance, the President has no choice but to step up, both on the emergency  of Central American children fleeing violence and on executive action for as many of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in America as possible.

Link to today’s call recording HERE.

For recordings and resources from prior Office Hours calls, click here.