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Yes, President Obama Should Act on Immigration. No, Republicans Aren’t Going to Pass Reform.

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At a press conference at the White House today, a reporter asked President Obama if taking executive action on immigration would hurt the chances for passing immigration reform legislation in a Republican-controlled Congress.  While acknowledging that immigration reform through legislation is the preferred solution, the President made it clear that after six years of Republican resistance to immigration reform he is no longer prepared to wait.  He indicated that he would take lawful executive action on immigration “before the end of the year.”  Earlier, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that doing so would “poison the well.”

The following is a statement from Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

“President Obama is right.  Americans want action, not more political gamesmanship and dithering.  They want change, not the status quo.

“Let’s not kid ourselves.  The GOP is not going to act on immigration reform.  As a party, they’ve now blocked immigration reform in 2006, 2007 and 2014.  In the current Congress, they not only blocked the best chance in a generation to enact reform, they then lurched to the right with votes to deny fair proceedings to Central American kids fleeing violence, strip DACA from Dreamers and prevent executive action.  And that was before a campaign that featured shameless GOP demagoguery about Ebola, ISIS and border security.

“The strategy behind the protestations of Mitch McConnell and others is clear.  They want to intimidate the President into inaction.  They know that Presidential action will reveal that GOP leaders are not in control of the party’s immigration agenda, but rather that Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Steve King (R-IA) are.  And they know that the predictable GOP overreaction to common sense steps will cement the GOP’s anti-Latino, anti-immigrant reputation heading into 2016.

“Democrats need to stiffen their spine, and the President needs to keep his promise.  11 million people who live and work among us every day – who build houses, care for children, pick our crops, tend to the elderly, and more – contribute to our country but are forced to live outside of the nation’s laws.  That is not who we are.  It’s time for the President to stand up for the majority of Americans who want action, now.”