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Leadership Trumps Inaction: Impending Executive Action Sensible, Legal, and Needed

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Real Issue Remains: GOP Has No Plan to Solve the Problem of 11 Million Undocumented People

Despite partisan handwringing and Republicans’ overheated rhetoric, President Obama’s impending immigration announcement is a sensible application of the chief executive’s inherent authority on immigration.  The legal case is clear and, in fact, every president since Eisenhower has taken executive action on immigration, including the notable instance of President George H.W. Bush legalizing approximately 40% of the undocumented population at the time.

As Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York said this morning on MSNBC:

Government is supposed to function, right?  Government is supposed to operate.  At the end of the day, government is a service bureau.  It’s not a debating society… What the President is saying on immigration reform is we’ve been talking, talking, talking.  Something has to happen.  The House hasn’t moved.  It hasn’t moved for a very long period of time.  For their response to be, ‘well, just give us a little more time,’–you’ve had plenty.  And they’re not saying ‘give us more time and we’ll act.’  So the President heard the message, ‘government must function,’ and an executive order – obviously you would like to do it by legislation – but you have executive authority and I think he’s going to make the point that he heard the people, and government is functioning and maybe the Republican Congress should get with it.

For Republicans attacking executive action, what is their preferred solution for undocumented immigrants in America?   Do they really believe we can or should deport our way to a solution or force millions to leave?  Surely, they must recognize that mass or self-deportation is impractical and un-American.  As for those who say we have to secure the border first, before we do anything else, that’s just an excuse for inaction and the status quo and kicking the can down the road.  The Senate immigration bill that passed in 2013 on a bipartisan basis had the toughest border security provisions in American history, and it still wasn’t good enough for most Republicans.  The third alternative is a path to legal status and citizenship – the most pragmatic, humane, and sensible option.  But this is the option Republicans have blocked – in 2006, 2007, 2010, 2012 and 2014.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

In light of the vacuum of leadership and the lack of progress on immigration in recent years, we are thrilled that somebody is finally doing something to make fixes to our dysfunctional immigration system.  Until we have a Congress capable and willing to do its job and pass legislation to address the big issues of our day, the president’s action is a necessary jumpstart to a process that’s been stuck in reverse for too long.  It’s a triumph of leadership and action over gridlock.