Yesterday, it was reported that the White House asked the Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, to postpone a review of deportation policies to give Congress more time to act on immigration reform. Last year, the Senate passed a bipartisan immigration bill, while the House of Representatives has not moved a bill forward.
Some immigration and labor groups (including SEIU, the National Immigration Forum and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops) issued a statement urging Congress to act and encouraging the administration to give the House time to act.
That statement read:
“While we stand united in our belief that both Congress and the president share the responsibility to tackle our broken immigration system, Speaker John Boehner and the House have a real window of opportunity to pass lasting immigration reform legislation by August.
For the good of the country, we urge Speaker Boehner and his colleagues to seize this moment. After so many promises, inaction now would be more than a lost opportunity; it would be a moral and economic loss.
During this interim, we strongly urge President Obama and his Administration to allow for this process to take place before issuing administrative action. We believe the President should move cautiously and give the House Leadership all of the space they may need to bring legislation to the floor for a vote.
Should the House fail to move forward during this window, the Administration will have an obligation to use whatever tools are at its disposal under the law to prevent the tragic family break-ups and economic disruption that has become the daily norm.”
Immigration advocates who have been urging the President to halt deportations expressed frustration with these remarks from allies. The National Immigrant Youth Alliance, which has been asking for broader prosecutorial discretion, posted on its Facebook page yesterday, “If your mother or father gets deported in the next few weeks, blame SEIU.” DREAMActivist.org, an advocacy organization run by undocumented youth, posted updates on its Twitter feed expressing frustration with what it calls “the 1% of the immigrant rights movement.”
The wheels on the deportation bus will continue to move, while Congress attempts to do something. House Speaker Boehner has said that he’s “hellbent on getting this done this year,” but many have questioned his sincerity. It’s likely that more people in the immigrant community will be asking questions about the strategies around pursuing comprehensive immigration reform, especially when the actions of large D.C. based allies differ from those of the grassroots when it comes to the urgency of halting deportations.
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