Target: President Barack Obama
Goal: Provide a lasting pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants
After hundreds of thousands of deportations and mixed rhetoric from within his administration, President Obama recently and finally took a stand for immigrants’ rights. His new executive order will ensure that thousands of families will no longer have to fear separation, and expands opportunities for over a million young immigrants, or DREAMers. This is a tremendous, long-awaited step forward – and yet, more than half of undocumented immigrants are still left out in the cold, unable to qualify. This is a temporary fix for a select few, not a comprehensive solution for all. Immigrants will not truly be safe from deportation and separation until there is an inclusive and permanent pathway to citizenship.
According to the Obama administration, a conscious decision was made to extend deferred action to groups they could justify protecting. The majority of immigrants who do qualify – around 4 million, according to TIME – are the parents of U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident children. The executive order will also make more young immigrants eligible for deportation relief and work permits. Finally, this order puts an end to Secure Communities, a federal program which, although supposedly focused on deporting criminals, facilitated the deportations of hundreds of thousands of non-criminal immigrants.
This Executive Action will make all the difference for some families. Yet they, as well as the remaining six million undocumented immigrants, are still waiting for a reform which has been often promised, but never delivered. The last attempt at immigration reform, in 2013, was defeated when Republican leadership in the House refused to compromise with a bill which had been passed in the Senate. It’s time to stop this partisan bickering. It’s time for the President and Congress to work together to craft a comprehensive and inclusive immigration bill which will create a means of legalization for the millions of undocumented immigrants who form part of our country.
Dear President Obama,
I am writing to congratulate you on your recent Executive Action to protect immigrant families and youth from deportation. You have taken a courageous stance which will truly make a difference in the lives of millions. Yet even as I celebrate this action, I want to encourage you to keep fighting for a humane and comprehensive reform to benefit all immigrants.
As I am sure you are aware, estimates are that five million immigrants will benefit from relief. That leaves at least another six million who are still in danger of being deported. In your speech announcing the executive action, you presented us with a choice between being “a nation that accepts the cruelty of ripping children from their parents’ arms” or “a nation that values families, and works to keep them together.” For those six million immigrants, we are still a cruel nation. Their deportation still violates who we understand ourselves to be as a country. Although I applaud the dismantling of Secure Communities, I urge you to ensure that the new enforcement program does not continue to target non-criminal immigrants for deportation.
I understand that you have faced a divided, even hostile Congress. I realize that it was this lack of support which led you to use executive actions to provide temporary relief for immigrants in the first place. Yet I would encourage you to continue to seek bipartisan support on this issue. Immigrant communities will never be safe from the threat of deportation until both sides come together to create comprehensive and, above all, inclusive immigration reform. ¡Sí se puede!
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: ThinkProgress