I watched with bated breath. I listened to President Obama make his last case for why administrative action was not just the right thing to do, it was the only thing to do. And I heard from him what his plans entailed.
I read, amazed, the barrage of news reports and opinion pieces before, during, and after the announcement. I combed through the documents AILA compiled and posted. I’m gathering as much information as possible.
The whole time I have been thinking nonstop.
I’ve been running through my clients, tagging those I think will be affected by some of the announced plans (though I’m waiting for those devilish details). I’ve been jotting down questions I have about L-1s and entrepreneurs, about DAPA and DACA, about all the moving parts of these announcements.
I also thought about families I’ve never met. Children and parents I’ve never seen who are feeling so hopeful now. I thought about Jose Antonio Vargas, someone I had the pleasure to talk with at our Annual Conference at the opening of his movie, who now becomes eligible for Deferred Action – and to see his mom – because of this administrative relief.
There is so much damage done to so many lives, to so many businesses and communities because of our broken immigration system. And I’m fed up.
To be honest, I wanted and still want legislative reform, the sort of reform that will offer a solid foundation on which a new system that actually fits the needs of our country can be built. We still don’t have that.
But we do have a President who is acting in the best interest of the country after months of delays by Congress. The actions he has taken will keep the America safer and offer relief that takes into account the needs of families and businesses.
As President he can’t fix all the problems with America’s current immigration system. That’s not how our country works. So this is a stopgap measure. It’s not permanent but what I desperately hope is that Congress will respond. Not with ridiculous claims that they will impeach the President and have him serve time for his executive overreach, but instead respond with measured, deliberate, careful consideration of an actual immigration reform bill.
That feels like a lot to ask in the rancorous political environment in which we find ourselves today. But it’s not too much to ask. So today I’m saying thank you to the President and I’m asking Congress, for the umpteenth time: won’t you please pass immigration reform?
Written by Leslie A. Holman, AILA President