President Obama will make a major announcement this evening regarding his decision to use executive actions to help millions of immigrants in this country. These measures are meant to provide a temporary solution to the long-term problem of fixing our nation’s broken immigration system. There has been much controversy surrounding the President’s decision to use executive actions, and threats from Republicans to block these executive actions through a variety of legislative maneuvers. Which begs the question: If Republicans are so opposed to President Obama using executive actions to deal with our immigration problems, why don’t they pass a bill in Congress to deal with this issue? The unfortunate answer is because Congress is broken.
Comprehensive immigration reform has been one of most debated issues in Congress during the past 14 years, and yet Republicans in Congress continue to insist that we need more time to discuss this issue. The coalition to support comprehensive immigration reform is one of the largest and most diverse of any coalition supporting legislation in Congress includes representation from labor, business, progressive, civil rights, faith and conservative organizations. With so many sectors supporting immigration reform, it is perplexing to understand why Congress has had so much trouble passing this important legislation. Maybe they are slow learners, or maybe they are more interested in doing nothing.
So we are left with an issue that needs to be fixed and a Congress that is unwilling to fix it. President Obama is left with no other option than to use executive action to help the millions of immigrants who have been passionately advocating for reform and relief. However, let’s be clear: this is not amnesty, and this will not solve the problem. It is still up to Congress to find the fortitude to pass legislation that will finally deal with this issue. Instead of Republicans focusing their efforts on how to block the President’s actions, they should be investing their time in trying to solve the problem. Republicans should be holding hearings on how they intend to deal with comprehensive immigration reform, and not just pouting about the fact that Obama is going it alone.
President Obama is showing the kind of leadership that Americans want to see coming from Washington, D.C. Americans want our leaders in Washington to solve problems, and put our country back on a path to prosperity. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that passingcomprehensive immigration reform will reduce the deficit by about $900 billion, and increase GDP by about $1.4 trillion over the next 20 years. Republican efforts to delay comprehensive immigration reform are hurting our economy and destroying families, yet they claim to be the party of fiscal responsibility and family values.
Nothing about the Republican playbook on immigration reform makes sense. They have an opportunity to help our economy, help keep families together, help a large coalition of advocates and increase their base of supporters. Why don’t they act on this issue? Because Congress is broken.