President Barack Obama is simply doing his job by taking administrative action on immigration. Congressional Republicans have refused to do theirs for the last 10 years, blocking immigration reforms in 2006, 2007, 2010, 2013 and now 2014. That failure has left the country with an increasingly harsh and dysfunctional immigration system that destabilizes families and communities and undermines the nation’s economic and security interests.
Ultimately, only Congress can fix this broken system. But instead of standing by and watching the system further deteriorate, the president is taking a number of common sense steps that are completely within his legal authority to make the system more rational, more efficient and more humane. The centerpiece of the announced reforms are a directive to temporarily defer removals of the parents of United States citizens and legal permanent residents who have been here for more than five years. There are other important changes as well, but the backlash against the president’s action has focused on this policy. Not only is the policy completely legal and grounded in ample historical precedent – similar policies have been adopted 39 times by 11 presidents over 60 years – it is also smart enforcement policy.This article was originally published in U.S. News and World Report.