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Senate Dems to Obama: Use Executive Action to Grant Relief, Protect Immigrant Parents

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Senate Democrats today threw their weight behind President Obama’s upcoming executive action on immigration, sending a letter to Obama asking him to “improve as much of the immigration system as you can.”

As the letter reads:

Immigrant communities have waited too long for House Republicans to catch up with the American public’s support for comprehensive immigration reform.  We strongly support your plan to improve as much of the immigration system as you can within your legal authority, and will stand behind you to support changes to keep families together while continuing to enforce our immigration laws in a way that protects our national security and public safety.

The letter was signed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bob Menendez (NJ), and Michael Bennet (D-CO).  Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) also issued a separate letter calling on Obama to “act now” on immigration.

The Senators’ statement follows that of more than one hundred House Democrats who signed a similar letter last week.  Members of both groups advocate a broad and inclusive policy change.  While earlier press reports suggested that the President may provide relief for some 5 million immigrants, House Democrats recently asked him to protect 7 million.  Today, Democratic Senators asked Obama to “include individuals with strong ties to the United States and who have not committed serious crimes, including the parents of DREAMers, U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, and workers who play a vital role in our economy and heritage.”

United We Dream commended the Senators for their inclusiveness, and reiterated their call for Obama to take bold action.  As they said in a statement:

Today’s letter from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the Senate Democratic leadership makes clear that those within the White House who may want to abandon the parents of Dreamers in an administrative relief package stand alone.  Senator Reid’s leadership at this critical time sets the bar for action where it should be – Republican politicians and others who are pressuring the President to offer little or nothing at all should follow his lead.

Millions of undocumented people in this country are ready to come forward, pay their application fee, and apply for deportation relief and work permits.  DACA is a proven success and it makes sense for the President to build upon it.  Our parents, LGBTQ immigrants, and single men and women working to provide for themselves or their families must be protected.

The President can’t lead on immigration with half measures – the time to protect the parents of Dreamers and our communities from deportation is now. 

View the full letter from the Senate Democrats here.