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Hearing on Keeping Families Together: The President’s Executive Action on Immigration and the Need to Pass Comprehensive Reform

DECEMBER 10, 2014

Washington, DC–We thank the Judiciary Committee for holding this important hearing today on the recent Immigration Accountability Action Initiatives.  This hearing rightly highlights the need to keep families together. The expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) programs will keep millions of families together and recognize strong family ties many undocumented immigrants have.  The legal case and precedent is clear.  In fact, every president since Eisenhower has taken executive action on immigration along these lines.

Last year a super majority of 68 Democrats, Republicans, and Independents came together to pass a bipartisan bill in the Senate.  And a similar version of the Senate bill has languished on Speaker of the House John Boehner’s (R-OH) desk for over 500 days, despite 200 House cosponsors and enough votes to pass the House right now.  The public overwhelmingly supports this bill and its approach to immigration reform, which would strengthen our borders, bolster our economy, and require undocumented immigrants to undergo a background check, pay taxes, learn English and then get in a line to have a chance to one day become citizens.  Yet, Speaker Boehner refuses to bring it up for even a vote. 

In the meantime, families continue to be ripped apart.  This is about families, not politics.  These are American families—too many US citizen children have ended up in foster care because their parents were deported.  With the Republican House unwilling to act, the President had no choice but to act.

With this historic move President Obama has made 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 many families will no longer live in fear of being separated.  Many immigrant parents can now come out of the shadows, get a work permit, pay their taxes and continue contributing to their communities.  The President’s action will transform the lives of millions of families who came here in search of a better life for their families—the American dream we all share.