Obama’s Immigration Order Moves Us Closer To Opportunity For All

Robert Borosage

NOTE: This official statement by the Campaign for America’s Future was released after President Obama announced his executive action on immigrant deportations Thursday night.

President Barack Obama’s decision to waive the threat of deportation to upwards of five million undocumented immigrants and their families is a historic moment that moves America closer to its ideal of equal opportunity for all.

Our inequality crisis is worsened by the exploitation of immigrant workers who toil without equal rights and fair compensation. The American economy will grow stronger, from the bottom up, once we end our two-tiered economic system and ensure that all workers have the same rights. Providing immigrant workers with legal status will boost their compensation and increase economic demand, growth which will even reduce long-term budget deficits. While comprehensive immigration reform legislation is still needed to fully address these persistent problems, today’s executive action is a major step forward that Republicans would be foolish to even try to roll back.

The president is well within his legitimate authority to set deportation priorities with limited resources when implementing our immigration laws. If Republicans disagree with his policy, they can render the procedural dispute moot by passing their own legislation that lifts the 11 million undocumented immigrants out of the shadows, grants them a path to citizenship and allows them to fully participate in and grow the American economy. Last year, the Senate passed a similar measure with bipartisan support. Republicans now have the power and the responsibility to govern, not simply to complain. They should get about doing so.

For years, Republicans put off doing what it is right for the immigrant community and the American economy, in order to pander to the anti-immigrant bigots who sully the conservative movement.

Now, Republicans can step up to the challenge of governing, and stand up to the bigotry in their ranks. Or they can prove to immigrant families, which include millions of legal voters, that Republicans want them locked in a shadow economy rather than accord them the rights and respect they deserve.

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