Washington, D.C. — Today, President Barack Obama announced that he is directing the Secretary of Homeland Security and Attorney General to make recommendations for taking administrative action to fix the country’s broken immigration system. In reaction to the president’s announcement, Marshall Fitz, Director of Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:
The president today laid the blame for the failure of immigration reform squarely where it should be—at the feet of House Republicans who have refused to bring the Senate’s bipartisan legislation, or any immigration reform legislation, to the floor for an up-or-down vote. The president and advocates gave House Republicans every inch of political space they asked for in order to move the process forward, but Speaker Boehner chose short-term politics over the best interests of the country. The inaction of House Republicans has come at a heavy cost to American families, communities, and the economy. To date, the House’s failure to pass immigration reform has cost our nation more than $13.5 billion.
We were happy to hear the president state loud and clear he cannot and will not stand by and do nothing in the face of congressional obstruction. President Obama’s commitment to taking all the steps within his legal authority—however inadequate given the continued intransigence of House Republicans to pass legislation—is an important step for our nation. We stand strongly with the president and look forward to working with him as he develops administrative reforms to help grow the economy while keeping families together.
We are, however, deeply concerned about the administration’s plan to address the burgeoning humanitarian situation at the border. Any attempts to expedite the screening and removal of young children who arrive without their parents is unconscionable. We call on members of Congress and the administration to ensure that any changes to current protections make sure that these children have the necessary time, opportunity, and representation needed to demonstrate whether they are eligible for protection under the law.
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